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Failed Rohingya repatriation from Bangladesh to Myanmar (Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper II; IOBR)

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh refused to board buses that would have taken them to Mynamar. This resulted in Myanmar missing the August 2019 target for repatriation.This resulted in Myanmar missing the August 2019 target for repatriation. An earlier deadline was missed in January 2018, when Bangladesh delayed repatraition plans.

Repatriation targets
According to United Nations estimates, some 1 million Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August 2017, and have been set up in two camps by the Bangladesh government in Cox’s Bazar. In November 2017, following talks, Bangladesh announced that a joint working group of UNHCR, Bangladesh, and Myanmar would be set up to work out the terms of repatriation, which would be completed by 2019.

There is large difference in the number of refugees between both the countries. Moreover, Rohingyas want Myanmar to announce that it would give the refugees citizenship; recognise them as an ethnic group; return land they once occupied; rebuild their homes, mosques and schools; and hold the Myanmarese military accountable for killings.

The genesis of the crisis
The Rohingya are a Bengali-speaking Muslim minority in Myanmar, whose government considers them illegal migrants from Bangladesh, and does not recognise them as citizens under the Burmese Citizenship Law of 1972. The Rohingya live mainly in the northern region of Myanmar’s Rakhine state, which was once part of the Kingdom of Arakan (1429-1785) that also included modern-day Chottogram (Chittagong) in Bangladesh.

The refugee crisis followed attacks on Myanmar border police in October 2016 in Rakhine, for which the insurgent group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army took responsibility. In retaliation by the military, several Rohingya villagers were killed, raped and jailed. Human rights groups said Myanmar’s soldiers were responsible for rape and killings even while Rohingya were trying to escape.

Rohingya and Bangladesh
Since 2017, nearly 4,300 acres of hills and forests have been sacrificed to make space for refugee shelters. Bangladesh is “struggling to cope with the influx” of refugees, and want to start relocating them to the island of Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal, with UN help. Refugees began protesting and refused to relocate.

Inside camps, according to UN and media reports, refugees were facing violence, assault and kidnapping by fellow Rohingya. Bangladesh had to significantly increase police strength inside the camps. Human rights activists reported that Rohingya women were being trafficked to various countries, or being forced into prostitution in Bangladesh.

Source: The Indian Express



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