Not yet safe for rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar

A UN envoy to Myanmar says it is not yet safe for hundreds of thousands of rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar.

Myanmar has been heavily criticized by many countries and human rights groups for the state-supported violence against ethnic minorities, and for hunting Muslim rohingyas out of the country.

Yanghee Lee, the United Nations Human Rights Specialist in Myanmar, also criticized India and Saudi Arabia for their treatment of rohingya refugees after several deported to Bangladesh.

Lee recently spent ten days in Thailand and Bangladesh, speaking to refugees from Myanmar, UN organizations, and international experts. However, she has not been allowed to visit Myanmar.

Over 700,000 Muslim rohingyas have sought refuge in Bangladesh since 2017 when the Myanmar military fired their villages in the state of Rakhine, killed many and chased the rest across the border to Bangladesh.

Lee believes that Myanmar’s treatment of the rohingya is marked by genocide and says it is clear that they cannot return home in the near future.

Last year, Bangladesh tried to repatriate some rohingyas after an agreement was signed with the Myanmar authorities, despite the fact that the UN and human rights groups believed it was not safe. The repatriation, however, was postponed when few people dared to return home.

(© NTB)

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