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Bangladesh: Rohingyas Must Go Home

Bangladesh: Rohingyas Must Go Home

Monday, 23 October, 2017 - 16:15
Rohingya refugee workers carrying bags of salt this month in a processing yard in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Bangladesh called on Myanmar on Monday to allow nearly 1 million Rohingya Muslim refugees to return home under safe conditions, saying that the burden had become "untenable" on its territory.


Reuters wrote that about 600,000 people have crossed the border since Aug. 25 when Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts were met by a counter-offensive by the Myanmar army in Rakhine state which the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing.


"This is an untenable situation," Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told a UN pledging conference. "Despite claims to the contrary, violence in Rakhine state has not stopped. Thousands still enter on a daily basis."


Vital humanitarian aid must continue, Ahsan said, adding: "It is of paramount importance that Myanmar delivers on its recent promises and works towards safe, dignified, voluntary return of its nationals back to their homes in Myanmar." Bangladesh's interior minister was in Yangon on Monday for talks to find a "durable solution", he said.


But Myanmar continued to issue "propaganda projecting Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh", Ahsan said, adding: "This blatant denial of the ethnic identity of Rohingyas remains a stumbling block."


Myanmar considers the Rohingya to be stateless, although they trace their presence in the country back generations. Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, later told journalists that the two countries had begun talks on "repatriation".


Conducive conditions have to be "recreated" in Rakhine, he said. "This must include a solution to the question of citizenship, or rather lack thereof for the Rohingya community," Grandi said.


Khaled al-Jarallah, deputy foreign minister of Kuwait, called on Myanmar authorities to "cease the practice of stripping the Rohingya minority of their right of citizenship, which as a result deprives them of the right to property and employment".


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