London, UK — The Burma Human Rights Network is calling upon the international community to speak out against the Burmese-Bangladesh plan for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees back to Burma scheduled to begin on August 22nd. Over 800,000 Rohingya fled Burma between 2016 and 2017 as the Burmese military waged a genocidal campaign, veiled as counter-insurgency, against the civilian population. Similar agreements to repatriate the Rohingya have been planned before, with massive resistance from the Rohingya population who said conditions were not safe or just enough for them to return voluntarily. This most recent announcement also seems to have been planned without input or consent of the Rohingya, and if carried out may amount to refoulement.
“The conditions in Burma are not suitable for the Rohingya to return, and this view is loudly expressed by the Rohingya living in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. The Rohingya who remain in Burma are still being denied their rights and no mechanisms have been put into place to assure their safety. The Government continues to try to force National Verification Cards on the Rohingya which is used to degrade their status and erase their identity. Freedom of movement for the Rohingya does not exist. And there is still a serious armed conflict going on in the exact region that the Rohingya would be repatriated to. To move forward with repatriation at this time is unthinkable,” said BHRN Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
BHRN calls on the US, UK, EU, UN, and ASEAN Nations to reject Burma and Bangladesh’s most recent plan to repatriate the Rohingya and to clearly establish what steps Burma must take before any repatriation can begin. These steps must include Citizenship for the Rohingya, a functioning mechanism to ensure the safety of those returning, accountability for military figures involved in human rights violations, and a concrete plan to return Rohingya to their home villages and have their property restored or fully replaced if they were destroyed by the military. Efforts short of this will likely involve relocating the Rohingya against their will amount to refoulement, which is against International Law.
Background on the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
BHRN is based in London and operates across Burma/Myanmar working for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in the country. BHRN has played a crucial role in advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
T: +44(0) 740 345 2378
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