Rohingya refugee flee camps in fear of forcible repatriation as time closes in

International Desk RNTv:

Many of Rohingya refugee families on a list set to be repatriated to Burma in Mid-November have reportedly fled from their camps to another as time closes in. Quoting the leaders in refugee camps, a recent report by Reuters also stated that most have fled to other neighbouring camps to avoid being detected and forced to return against their will. The repatriation of hundreds of thousands of refugees in Bangladesh is set to start in November 15 even though the refugee agency and aid groups say that it would be dangerous for them to return.

Refering to the refugees who fled, Reuters last week said more than 20 individuals on the list of potential returnees would refuse to return to Arakan state saying that they were terrified.A refugee who fled from Jamtoli to Kutupalong said to the reporters that People were so afraid of being identified, also were avoiding even Friday prayers at the mosque.

Bangladesh has reiterated that no one would be forced to return to the places from where they fled. Abul Kalam, Bangladesh Relief and Repatriation Commissioner told Reuters that the return would be voluntary. Nobody would be forced to go back.
The government of Bangladesh has also asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to verify whether those shortlisted are willing to go back. The UNHCR in a statement on Sunday, said that refugees should be allowed to go and assess the conditions in Burma before their return.Many Rohingya including rights activitists who have been left stateless, oppose the repatriation that has no guarantees of citizenship and freedom of movement.

Meanwhile, Social Welfare minister of Burma Win Myat Aye told the reporters in Yangoon, preparations had been made for 2,251 people to be transported to two transit centres by boat on Thursday, November 15 while a second group of 2,095 could follow later by road.

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled the sweeping army crackdown in Myanmar last year. Burmese soldiers and local Buddhists massacred families, burned hundreds of villages, and carried out gang rapes. U.N-mandated investigators have accused the army of genocidal intent and urged prosecution of senior army officials at International Criminal Court (ICC).