Myanmar urges Bangladesh to extradite 1300 'rebel' Rohingyas

Desiree Steele
January 20, 2018

"There are talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar about people being returned to the very country which they fled".

The crisis erupted after Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts on August 25 in Rakhine triggered a fierce military response that the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing.

On its recent visit to Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, a team of PHR doctors conducted forensic documentation following internationally accepted protocols to corroborate stories of violence and abuse, supported by physical examinations and x-rays.

The military denies ethnic cleansing, saying its security forces had mounted legitimate counterinsurgency clearance operations.

"The question is how the terrified and traumatised refugees would be repatriated to Rakhine State where they experienced, witnessed and fled the genocidal brutality of Myanmar troops, Rakhine extremists and other vigilantes", says the statement posted by Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation, UK.

Though Myanmar authorities said that the campaign was aimed at rooting out Rohingya militants who attacked police posts on August 25 but the United Nations and the USA have said the violence amounts to ethnic cleansing. "The UNHCR was not involved directly in the management of the agreement even if they were consulted".

"Even though we are talking about a two-year process, it totally depends on how the two countries cooperate", Myanmar government Spokesman Zaw Htay said.

The meeting in Myanmar's capital Naypyitaw was the first for a joint working group set up to hammer out the details of the November repatriation agreement.

Earlier this week, Myanmar and Bangladesh reached a deal on the return of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingyas.

Mohammad Farouk, 20, who arrived in Bangladesh following the August 25 attacks, said exchanging one camp for another made little difference - except "the camps in Myanmar will be far worse, because we will be confined there and there will be a risk to our lives".

Aye Maung is a parliament representative elected from Ann township constituency of Rakhine state. "Across South Asia, members of religious minorities experience societal discrimination and violence which is exacerbated by laws and policies that punish speech, restrict religious conversions, or ban certain beliefs", she said, adding that protecting and promoting religious freedom is a priority of this Trump administration.

Noor Alam, 37, who came to Kutupalong five months ago, wondered if he could ever get a job in Myanmar. "They don't want that, we don't want that, the nations don't necessarily want that either". We really wish to go back to our land.

Some young men in the camp anxious they might be arrested on accusations of terrorism if they returned to Myanmar.

Around 1 million Rohingyas are now sheltering at cramped and squalid refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh, after fleeing cycles of violence in Rakhine state across the border, including at least 655,000 who crossed into the country since the military crackdown in August. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

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