Despite all the preparations, no Rohingya turned up on Thursday to avail the “voluntary” repatriation offer given to them for going back to their place of origin Rakhine State of Myanmar, prompting the authorities to suspend the repatriation process for the day.
While briefing reporters, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said they interviewed the listed Rohingyas over the last couple of days and encouraged them to return to their homeland, reports UNB.
However, nobody did show up at Ghumdhum transit point on Thursday, he said adding that five buses were kept ready to take the Rohingyas to Myanmar’s Rakhine State, their place of origin.
Officials of UNHCR and Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Md Abul Kalam went to Rohingya camp 26 in Shalban of Teknaf to convince them to go back to their homeland.
Officials of UNHCR, local administration and law enforcers had been at the transit camps at Keruntali and Ghumdhum from 10am to 1pm on Thursday in the hope that the first batch of Rohingyas would return to Myanmar today from where they had escaped genocide two years ago.
No Rogingya refugees have turned up at the transit camps set up by the government for their repatriation.
“No Rohingyas are agreeing to go back, but we will be waiting till 4pm,” said, RRRC Md Abul Kalam.
“We will continue our counseling of Rohingyas in the coming days. If anyone wants to go back, we will make arrangements by discussing with Myanmar,” he added.
The Rohingyas said they would not go back unless their safety and security is ensured, citizenship restored and the atrocity they faced is investigated and perpetrators punished.
The first batch of 3,450 Rohingyas were scheduled to return to Myanmar today.
Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Md Abul Kalam in a press conference at his office in Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday said they had taken adequate security measures to ensure the smooth repatriation process.
He also said five buses and five trucks had been kept on stand-by to help the Rohingyas return to their homeland without hassle from this morning.
A similar attempt by the UNHCR and the two countries involved in the process failed last year, with no refugees wanting to return voluntarily, citing the same demands.
About 740,000 Rohingyas fled Rakhine and crossed over to Bangladesh amid a military crackdown on them in August 2017. Since then, they have been living in makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazar.