Uncertainty once again looms over the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.
The first batch of 3,450 Rohingyas are scheduled to return to Myanmar on Thursday.
The first batch of 3,450 Rohingyas are scheduled to return to Myanmar on Thursday. In this regard, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Md Abul Kalam in a press conference at his office in Cox’s Bazar yesterday said they had taken adequate security measures to ensure the smooth repatriation process, reported our Cox’s Bazar correspondent.
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.
On Tuesday and Wednesday they were able to talk to 235 Rohingya refugees, he said, adding that those showing interest in going back to Myanmar would be repatriated.
Asked if the Rohingyas really want to go back, the commissioner denied making any comment, but he said they were prepared.
But uncertainty was earlier created as the Rohingyas said that they would not return until their demands are met. The demands include granting them Myanmar citizenship, returning their homestead, and ensuring their safety and security as well as justice for the atrocities perpetrated by the Myanmar Army, adds our staff correspondent.
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 militant crackdown on them in August 2017. Since then, they have been living in makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazar.
“Most of the Rohingya families interviewed so far made the same demands,” said Md Hossain Khaled, who is living in Shalbagan Rohingya camp. “If the demands are not fulfilled, we are not willing to go back to Myanmar.”
He and two other refugees -- Md Riaz and Rashid -- of Camp No. 26 said they would not go back to Myanmar in the existing uncertainty.
“First we want justice for Myanmar army’s atrocities on us and then we want back our homestead and citizenship,” added Md Riaz.