are rohingya refugees in bangladesh ‘even’ willing to resettle in myanmar
Despite numerous initiatives to promote their voluntary repatriation, tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have expressed unwillingness over returning to Myanmar to “be confined in camps”.
Nearly a million Muslims from the Rohingya ethnic group are living in fragile and filthy camps in the Bangladeshi border district of Cox’s Bazar. Most of them have been there since 2017 when they fled an intense military-led crackdown in Myanmar.
The Rohingya have long been treated as foreign invaders in the Buddhist-majority nation, denied citizenship, and subjected to abuse. Up until lately, the military there had shown little willingness towards accepting any of them back.
But a delegation from Myanmar visited the refugees in Bangladesh in March this year to confirm the identities of a small number of returnees for a pilot plan. Although there doesn’t seem to be a defined deadline, a Bangladeshi official said the endeavour will involve about 1,100 people.
Officials from Bangladesh have frequently visited Myanmar to help bring the refugees home. Seven Bangladeshi representatives and twenty refugees recently visited adjacent villages in Rakhine State to take note of the relocation plans.
The Rohingya haven’t expressed satisfaction with the preparations for repatriation. They stressed they will make a permanent return to neighboring Myanmar only if they are granted citizenship and their security is guaranteed.
The refugees do not want to be confined in camps. Myanmar is offering them National Verification Cards (NVC), which the Rohingya believe is inadequate. Abu Sufian, 35, said the NVC would effectively identify Rohingya refugees as foreigners.
According to Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, commissioner for refugee relief and repatriation in Cox’s Bazar, repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar is the only solution to the problem. “We want … a safe, voluntary [and] dignified repatriation,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
A delegation from Myanmar has arrived at Teknaf port in Cox’s Bazar area as a follow-up to help the Rohingya gain confidence as well as to verify the information about refugees willing to return to the Rakhine State.