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Bangladesh, Myanmar plan Rohingya repatriation in 2 years
20 January 2018, 03:59 | Violet Powell
Rohingya Muslims return to Myanmar puts them at 'grave risk', say UK MPs
Seven people have been killed and 12 injured by Myanmar police when it opened fire on demonstrators with live bullets in Rakhine State.
Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an initial agreement last November to repatriate the Rohingya, and the 30-member working group was set up last month to oversee the process.
"Previous episodes of displacement and return of the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities, over the last 20 years do not inspire confidence", it added. But it said the return effort envisages "considering the family as a unit", with Myanmar to provide temporary shelter for those returning before rebuilding houses for them.
A spokesperson from the un high commission for refugees said Myanmar also needed to address the underlying causes of the crisis and that refugees should only return when they feel it is safe for them.
Tensions in Rakhine State have risen since a sweeping Myanmar army operation in August inflamed communal clashes where Muslims villages were attacked; it triggered an exodus of over 650,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh.
According to a statement released by the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the repatriation will be completed [press release] within two years from the commencement.
The group, however, appreciated Bangladesh for hosting over 655,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar although the country does not recognise majority as refugees.
United States Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the UN refugee agency United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was consulted but it's very important the agency is fully involved to guarantee the repatriation adheres to worldwide standards. "We will be, of course, ready to do everything possible, to support a movement taking place, as I said, based on voluntariness, safety, dignity, and in respect to worldwide standards", he said, adding that the United Nations or its UNHRC was not involved in the agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the issue.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from August 25 to September 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.
Myanmar denies ethnic cleansing, saying its security forces had mounted legitimate counter-insurgency clearance operations. It would be the first camp built in the repatriation process. This is a clear case of excessive use of force in violation of the right to life.
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