Bangladesh and Myanmar reaffirmed to repatriating Rohingya refugees from January

Vastavam web: Bangladesh and Myanmar today reaffirmed their commitment to begin repatriating Rohingya refugees from January, despite rights groups warning that their safety is still not assured should they return.The foreign secretaries of Bangladesh and Myanmar met in Dhaka to finalise the agreement signed on November 23 for the voluntary return of nearly three-quarters of a million stateless Rohingya living in refugee camps along the border.”Now, we will start the next step of our work,” Bangladesh foreign minister A.H. Mahmood Ali told reporters after the meeting.

The reaffirmation comes a day after Human Rights Watch, citing analysis of satellite imagery, said Myanmar’s army burned down dozens of Rohingya homes within days of signing the repatriation deal with Bangladesh.The watchdog said the deal was “a public relations stunt” and warned it contained no guarantee the Rohingya would be safe should they return to Myanmar’s conflict-wracked Rakhine state.The military has put the number in the hundreds and denied targeting civilians or committing atrocities, while Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi said major security operations stopped in early September.

Myanmar has in the past blamed fires in villages on Rohingya insurgents who on August 25 attacked security posts, killing a dozen police and triggering fierce army retribution.The agreement promises the “safe and voluntary return” of displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh — not just the latest 655,000 new arrivals but more than 70,000 from a separate influx in October 2016.