First Rohingya family returns: Myanmar

17, Apr 2018 | CJP Team

Following a military crackdown that was launched in late August 2017, more than 600,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar for Bangladesh. Myanmar has been accused of conducting “ethnic cleansing” by the United Nations, but it has denied this. The country has announced that five members of one family reached a “repatriation camp” on Saturday, April 14, the BBC reported. Myanmar said they were given identification cards and supplies. If this is verified, those five would be the first Rohingya to return to Myanmar following the military’s campaign. Myanmar authorities released photographs that depict what they termed a “Muslim” family getting National Verification Cards, a form of identification that does not issue citizenship. Myanmar does not use the word “Rohingya”. Rohingya leaders in refugee camps in Bangladesh have spurned the cards. Just before Myanmar announced the return of said family, The United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR), and Bangladesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the voluntary repatriation of the Rohingya refugees after Myanmar’s conditions are “conducive”. Currently, according to the UNHCR, “conditions in Myanmar are not yet conducive for returns to be safe, dignified and sustainable.” The agency added that Myanmar authorities bear the responsibility for ensuring such conditions. “Refugees in Bangladesh have said that before considering return to Myanmar, they would need to see concrete progress in relation to their legal status and citizenship, security, and their ability to enjoy basic rights at home in Rakhine State,” UNHCR said. The agency has recommended that, along with other steps, relaxing limits on “movement for the internally displaced persons encamped in the central townships of Rakhine State” would “help to build confidence among refugees in Bangladesh.” 


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