UN, Bangladesh agree to safe, voluntary Rohingya repatriation

Laverne Higgins
April 15, 2018

UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, and the Bangladesh government on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) relating to the voluntary returns of Rohingya refugees once the conditions in Myanmar are conducive, reports UNB.

According to U.N. officials, almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh from Rakhine to escape a military crackdown since August, amid reports of murder, rape and arson by Myanmar troops and Buddhist vigilantes which the United Nations has likened to "ethnic cleansing".

For the hospitality, protection and assistance provided to those refugees, UNHCR would like to extend its honest thanks to the government and people of Bangladesh, according to a message received from Geneva.

UNHCR appreciates KSRelief's kind and timely contribution particularly in light of the pressing need for emergency assistance for thousands of Rohingya refugees who have arrived to Bangladesh in search of refuge and safety. The statement also refuted Bensouda's claim that Myanmar had deported the Rohingyas and added that it has been collaborating with Bangladeshi authorities to repatriate them.

One of the main points raised was the condition that Myanmar imposed on returning refugees to present official identity documents, which they have always been denied.

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Myanmar has said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over the country and hence can not try it over allegations that hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas were deported to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The MoU, signed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Bangladesh foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque in Geneva, established a framework of cooperation between UNHCR and Bangladesh on the safe, voluntary, and dignified returns of refugees in line with worldwide standards.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said all 15 council ambassadors will make the April 26 to May 2 trip.almost 700,000 Rohingya have been driven out of Rakhine state and are living in crowded refugee camps in Bangladesh since a Myanmar army operation in August.

"It will help improve the situation in Myanmar, in terms of helping the Government implement the Annan.the conclusions of the (Kofi) Annan panel", he said referring to the panel, headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that has outlined long-term solutions to help end the violence and marginalisation for all communities in Rakhine.

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