June 19, 2024 12:58 (IST)
Follow us:
facebook-white sharing button
twitter-white sharing button
instagram-white sharing button
youtube-white sharing button
With Modi's re-election, Justin Trudeau wants to engage on some 'very serious issues' | Fire breaks out at iconic Hollong Bungalow in Bengal's Jalpaiguri | Portion of under-construction bridge collapses in Bihar's Araria | PM Modi performs Ganga aarti in Varanasi on his first visit since LS polls victory | Mamata Banerjee calls on BJP MP Anant Maharaj in Coochbehar, triggers speculation
Bangladesh must suspend plans to return Rohingya refugees to Myanmar: Rights expert
Image: UNICEF/Suman Paul Himu

Bangladesh must suspend plans to return Rohingya refugees to Myanmar: Rights expert

| @indiablooms | 09 Jun 2023, 03:52 pm

Bangladesh must “immediately suspend” a pilot repatriation project for Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar, where they face “serious risks” to their lives and freedom, a UN-appointed independent rights expert said on Thursday.

Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, insisted that current conditions there were “anything but conducive” for the return of Rohingya refugees.

Death trap

He stressed that the very generals who had launched “genocidal” attacks against the Rohingya, causing hundreds of thousands to flee the country, were now in power and “attacking civilian populations while denying the Rohingya citizenship and other basic rights”.

According to Mr. Andrews’ statement, Bangladesh officials have been planning to send back to Myanmar, potentially very soon, an initial group of 1,140 Rohingya refugees, using a combination of threats and financial rewards.

Confined to ‘designated area’

The returnees would reportedly pass through “transit” centres in Rakhine state before being resettled in a “designated area of 15 newly constructed villages” which they will “not be allowed to leave freely”.

“The return of Rohingya refugees under these conditions would likely violate Bangladesh’s obligations under international law and expose Rohingya to gross human rights violations and, potentially, future atrocity crimes,” Mr. Andrews said.

In March, Bangladesh authorities facilitated two visits by Myanmar junta authorities to the Bangladesh camps, said the UN rights office OHCHR.

According to reports, at least some of the refugees were coerced into participating in so-called ‘verification’ interviews with junta officials. Bangladesh and the military regime’s officials also coordinated a ‘go see’ visit to Rakhine State for some Rohingya refugees.

Bangladeshi officials said the refugees had expressed “general satisfaction” with the arrangements being made for their return, but these assurances were contradicted by reports that those who participated in the trip had unequivocally rejected the repatriation plans, OHCHR said.

“I implore Bangladesh to immediately suspend the repatriation pilot programme,” Mr. Andrews said.

Stand with Rohingya

“I also urge the international community to stand with Rohingya refugees in both word and deed”, he added.

“This must include reversing the failure to provide a humane level of support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who are unable to pursue livelihoods, continue to face hunger and malnutrition, and whose children have very limited educational opportunities”.

Tom Andrews and other independent human rights experts are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, under its Special Procedures.

They are mandated to monitor and report on specific thematic issues or country situations. They are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work.

Support Our Journalism

We cannot do without you.. your contribution supports unbiased journalism

IBNS is not driven by any ism- not wokeism, not racism, not skewed secularism, not hyper right-wing or left liberal ideals, nor by any hardline religious beliefs or hyper nationalism. We want to serve you good old objective news, as they are. We do not judge or preach. We let people decide for themselves. We only try to present factual and well-sourced news.

Support objective journalism for a small contribution.