HRW urges Bangladesh to halt Rohingya repatriation planBreaking

April 01, 2023

Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Bangladesh to suspend plans to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, warning conditions there would not be safe for the persecuted and stateless minority. Bangladesh is home to around a million Rohingya, most of whom fled a 2017 military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar that is now subject to a UN genocide investigation. A delegation from Myanmar’s military regime travelled to Bangladesh this month to interview potential candidates for return and jump-start a stalled repatriation scheme.

But any return to Myanmar would put the lives and liberty of refugees “at grave risk”, Human Rights Watch said in a statement. “Voluntary, safe, and dignified returns of Rohingya refugees to Myan­mar are not possible while the military junta is carrying out massacres around the country,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW’s South Asia director.

Rohingya in the camps told HRW they “were lied to, deceived, or otherwise coerced by Bangladesh administrators” into meet­ing the Myanmar delegation, the watchdog said. Some of the 15 refugees interviewed by the watchdog said they had been lured into the meetings on the understanding they were to discuss possible resettlement to a third country.

The Rohingya are widely viewed in Myanmar as interlopers from Bangladesh, despite roots in the country stretching back centuries, and are stateless after Myanmar ceased recognising their citizenship in 2015. Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, who has dismissed the Rohingya identity as “imaginary”, was head of the armed forces during the 2017 crackdown.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-INP