24, Jan 2018 | CJP Team
Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s refugee relief and rehabilitation commissioner told Reuters that the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, currently in camps in Bangladesh, would have to be delayed, since there are tasks yet to be completed, including compiling and verifying the list of those to be sent back, and establishing transit camps. The repatriation was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. Ko Ko Naing, director general of Myanmar’s Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, told Reuters that Myanmar was ready to take in the Rohingya once they return. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 688,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since late August, when Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown. Some refugees are against returning over concerns regarding a lack of security. On Monday, January 22, some Rohingya leaders came together at the Palong Khali refugee camp to announce their demands via a loudspeaker and a banner; these include guarantees of security, citizenship, and the official recognition of the Rohingya as one of Myanmar’s ethnic minorities. They also called for the rebuilding of homes, schools, and mosques that were destroyed during the military’s campaign. A Bangladesh Border Guard official told Reuters that the refugees would not be forced to return, and disputed that they would lose their food ration cards if they stayed in the camps.