The Safe, Voluntary and Dignified Repartriation of Rohingya Refugees

Opinions and Analysis|

The recent massive exodus of Rohingya into Bangladesh has been the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world that estimates around 7,00,000 Rohingyas taking shelter in Bangladesh since late August. The Burma military had launched an atrocious crackdown on the Rohingya civilians while the children and women happened to be the worst victims in 25 August this year.

Though Bangladesh has provided a temporary shelter to such a huge number of the Rohingya refugees on the humanitarian ground, Bangladesh is facing a great burden to accommodate such a huge mass in its overpopulated, small and poor country. Bangladesh wants to send back these Rohingya refugees as early as possible to their country with a view to bringing a durable solution to them. Accordingly the bilateral discussion between Bangladesh and Burma is going on to adopt a universal process for repatriation.
In the face of global pressure, Burma expresses its willingness to accept the Rohingya refugees as per early bilateral agreement of 1992. While Bangladesh has a repeated urge to Burma to ammend the agreement with some changes suitable to the recent situation. Earlier on 10th November, Burma’s foreign ministry revealed four conditions regarding the Rohingya repatriation; the top of them is to have sufficient evidence and documents of residence in Arakan. It is quite un-thinkable that these Rohingya, who faced the indiscriminate airstrikes and gunshots of the military and their houses were burnt to ashes, can take residence documents with them.
Both the countries are expected to reach an agreement and MoU regarding the repatriation process within this week.
On other hand, on Thursday Military Chief of Burma Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, has made a threat violating the government pledges for repatriation that the Rohingya whom he mentions as Bangalis can only return if the Rakhine Buddhist whom he described as original citizens want them to coexist with. This ghostly demand of army chief indeed hamper the apparent repartriation process.
International bodies and rights organizations including UNHCR, IOM, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International are strongly pressurizing Burma for the safe and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland. On the other hand , the UN Secretary General António Guterres in the 31st ASEAN meeting urged Suu Kyi to ensure safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation of the Rohinyga refurgees. The US congressional delegation led by Senator Jeff Merkley on the visit to Burma enforces Burma to work with UN to facilitate the safe return and rehabilitation of the Rohingya.
As we spoke to many Rohingyas living in the Rohingya refugee camps of Ukhiya and Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, they agree to return their homes voluntarily on the condition of getting their rights and safety. They want to return their original homes, NOT in the squalid IDP camps. They said that “they are victims to state-sponsored slow burning genocide. The Burma government has a ferocious manner towards us as they want to make Arakan free from Rohingya”.
The Rohingya refugees want a durable solution. At the same time, they are well aware of the hypocritical and deceitful manner of the Burma government. They want the repartiation process in a tripartite agreement. The representatives from within Rohingya community along with Burma and Bangladesh should be ensured under the direct interference of UN agencies to ensure the transparent and reliable deal.
The displaced wretched Rohingyas should be setteled in their original place of residence where suitable houses should be re-build at govt. cost. The refugees should also have met proper compensation of their properties that have been lost during military crack-down in Arakan.
The refugees also demands that the masterminds of this human tragedy should must be made accountable and brought them face a reputed trial.
The world coummunity and Rohingya them selves are now waiting to see the contents of the imminent agreement that ensure safe,voluntary and dignified repartriation of the displaces Rohingyas to the land of their fore-fathers. They are awaiting on how much the Burma government upholds its promises.

[RNTv Editorial: The RNTv editorial is published periodically in which the opinions and analysis of RNTv is expressed]