Bangladesh signs deal to involve United Nations for repatriation of Rohingya refugees

15 Febrero, 2018, 05:29 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Boris Johnson meets with Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday to discuss the Southeast Asian nation's Muslim ethnic Rohingya minority and how nearly 700,000 of them can be repatriated safely after fleeing to Bangladesh to escape violence perpetrated largely by Myanmar's military.

Junior foreign minister Shahriar Alam said the government was involving the United Nations refugee agency so that it could not be accused of sending anyone from the stateless Muslim minority back against their will.

Shahriar said, "The repatriation has been delayed as the process to ensure the Rohingyas' safety and dignified stay in Myanmar is under way".

Around 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh following ethnic violence in Burma with troops accused of widespread abuses.

"While I welcome steps by both the Burmese and Bangladeshi governments towards ensuring that these people can return home, it is vital that the Rohingya refugees must be allowed to their homes in Rakhine voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, under global oversight, and when the conditions in Burma are right", he said. "We want to fill up the [repatriation] forms in their [UN] presence so that no one can say they been forced by someone or sent back against their will".

Speaking after meeting Ms Suu Kyi, he said: "The UK is already a major donor to the humanitarian crisis".

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The Nobel Peace Prize victor had been criticized overseas for not standing up for the largely stateless Rohingya in the western state of Rakhine, where an army crackdown forced more than 688,000 to flee to Bangladesh since August 25 a year ago.

"I underlined the importance of the Burmese authorities carrying out a full and independent investigation into the violence in Rakhine, and to hold to account those responsible for human rights violations".

Mr Johnson said: "I spoke to her about my own experience witnessing the bad conditions of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and my deep concern about their future".

Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner Abul Kalam said, "There had been many things like the list of people to be sent back, their verification and setting up of transit camps are yet to be done".

Many Rohingya do not feel safe returning to a country where they have faced violent persecution and decades of discrimination at the hands of a country that has denied them citizenship.

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