UN disputes Myanmar Rohingya repatriation claim

The United Nations and Bangladesh have questioned Myanmar's claim of repatriating the first Rohingya refugees as conc...

Posted: Apr 16, 2018 1:27 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2018 1:27 PM

The United Nations and Bangladesh have questioned Myanmar's claim of repatriating the first Rohingya refugees as concerns mount for the safety of returnees.

More than 670,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh since August 2017, bringing with them stories of murder, rape and the destruction of villages at the hands of the military.

Under an agreement signed by Yangon and Dhaka, Rohingya refugees should have started to return to Myanmar in January. But the UN and rights groups say the move is dangerously premature.

In a statement on Saturday, Myanmar said it had repatriated the first Rohingya family from refugees who have fled to Bangladesh. However, the UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, said in a statement on Sunday that it had no direct knowledge of the case and was not consulted or involved in this reported return.

Bangladesh's Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, Abul Kalam, also disputed the claim.

"The family who went to Myanmar is part of around 6,000 Rohingya living in the no-man's land camp, on the Myanmar side of the zero line," he told CNN.

"Since the family never entered the Bangladesh territory, this is not a repatriation. By definition, this is not an official repatriation," he added.

Zaw Htay, a spokesman for Myanmar's government, said its claim "is not propaganda" and that the family decided to come back of their own volition. "We are taking care of them," he added.

When Facebook becomes 'the beast': Myanmar activists say social media aids genocide

Ethnic cleansing

The UN and the US say they believe the violence against the Rohingya constitutes ethnic cleansing. Myanmar denies most of the charges, saying its military has only targeted suspected terrorists that killed 12 security officials in late August.

However, in January the military admitted involvement in the killing of 10 Rohingya buried in a mass grave. Seven soldiers were sentenced to 10-year prison terms with hard labor last week over the killings.

The Rohingya have long faced persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which describes them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh -- effectively denying them citizenship -- despite the fact that many families can trace their roots back hundreds of years.

Last week, UNHCR released a statement saying "conditions in Myanmar are not yet conducive for returns to be safe, dignified, and sustainable".

Rohingya continue to flee Myanmar. Last week, according to Matthew Smith, co-founder of Fortify Rights, some 70 of them left on a boat heading for Malaysia.

"Rohingya refugees on the move: Boat with 70 on board is likely arrive in Thai or Malaysian waters in a matter of days, assuming they don't capsize or face other problems at sea," Smith tweeted.

Between 2012 and 2015, more than 112,000 Rohingya fled, largely by boat, to Malaysia. In May 2015, the world watched in horror as human traffickers stranded thousands of mainly Rohingya in the Bay of Bengal on rickety boats with scant supplies of food and water.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33591

Reported Deaths: 1204
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds264246
DeSoto176718
Madison135536
Jones115949
Neshoba101673
Harrison100312
Rankin99915
Lauderdale93781
Forrest92743
Scott78515
Jackson70417
Copiah62715
Washington62610
Leake59820
Lee57521
Holmes57041
Oktibbeha55728
Wayne55116
Warren54020
Yazoo5336
Grenada5227
Lowndes51513
Leflore50756
Lamar5007
Lincoln49234
Pike46617
Sunflower4368
Monroe43135
Lafayette4194
Covington3965
Panola3926
Bolivar37018
Attala36523
Simpson3603
Newton35210
Adams33218
Tate31912
Pontotoc3166
Marion30812
Chickasaw29119
Claiborne28910
Winston28210
Noxubee2738
Pearl River26932
Jasper2666
Marshall2643
Clay25111
Smith23412
Union23311
Coahoma2136
Clarke21125
Walthall2087
Lawrence1892
Yalobusha1838
Kemper17914
Carroll17111
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1564
Montgomery1432
Calhoun1425
Tippah14211
Itawamba1408
Hancock13413
Webster12811
Tunica1153
Jefferson1143
Jefferson Davis1144
Prentiss1113
Greene1089
Amite1043
George943
Wilkinson949
Tishomingo911
Quitman891
Alcorn762
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone722
Franklin472
Benton420
Sharkey400
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5687161
Mobile4315136
Montgomery4275109
Tuscaloosa238248
Marshall181511
Madison16208
Lee146337
Shelby141424
Morgan11575
Baldwin10399
Walker101825
Elmore97519
Dallas9189
Franklin90616
Etowah83413
DeKalb7905
Chambers64727
Autauga64312
Butler63728
Tallapoosa60669
Russell5890
Unassigned53826
Houston5366
Limestone5251
Lauderdale5146
Cullman4905
Lowndes47922
Pike4525
Colbert4426
St. Clair4402
Escambia4358
Calhoun4035
Coffee3923
Covington38110
Bullock36910
Barbour3622
Jackson3432
Talladega3337
Dale3261
Marengo32011
Hale31722
Wilcox2958
Clarke2876
Sumter28512
Winston2773
Chilton2762
Blount2581
Monroe2442
Pickens2446
Marion24114
Randolph2289
Conecuh2187
Macon2029
Choctaw19912
Bibb1981
Greene1888
Perry1791
Henry1403
Crenshaw1253
Washington1217
Lawrence1130
Cherokee1117
Geneva860
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa601
Cleburne391
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 76°
Columbus
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather