Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Government: Myanmar Repatriates First Rohingya Refugee Family

Government: Myanmar Repatriates First Rohingya Refugee Family

Sunday, 15 April, 2018 - 09:45
In this photo taken on March 18, 2018, an armed Myanmar borderguard police watches over Bangladesh area from Maungdaw district in Rakhine State on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Joe Freeman

Myanmar's government announced that it has repatriated the first family of Rohingya refugees, among 700,000 others who fled to Bangladesh escaping from a brutal crackdown.

The family returned following after months of talks with Dhaka and amid warning from the United Nations that the country is not ready for the return of refugees yet.

Fleeing Rohingya refugees have reported suffering including killings, sexual assaults and arson on a large scale, according to Reuters.

The United States and the United Nations have described the Myanmar military operation as ethnic cleansing.

Reuters reported that Myanmar has denied nearly all allegations, saying it waged a legitimate counter-insurgency operation. Adding that the army has said its crackdown "was provoked by the attacks of Rohingya militants on more than two dozen police posts and an army base last August."

According to a Myanmar government statement posted late Saturday, one family of refugees became the first to be processed in newly built reception centres earlier in the day.

"The five members of a family... came back to Taungpyoletwei town repatriation camp in Rakhine state this morning," said a statement posted on the official Facebook page of the government's Information Committee.

Bangladesh's refugee commissioner, Mohammad Abul Kalam, told AFP the family had been living in a camp erected on a patch of "no man's land" between the two countries.

A Rohingya community leader in the camp also confirmed the family's return.

Many Rohingya refugees say they fear returning to a country where they saw their relatives murdered by soldiers.

Doctors Without Borders says the violence claimed at least 6,700 Rohingya lives in the first month alone.

Editor Picks