United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees deputy high commissioner Kelly Clements on Thursday said that present conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State were not in a place to enable safe and sustainable return of the Rohingyas to their homeland.
The UN refugee agency official said that the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar had reached an agreement on the return of Rohingyas to Myanmar but the process must meet the international refugee and human rights standards.
‘At present, conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State are not in place to
enable safe and sustainable returns,’ said
Kelly at a press conference in Dhaka after visiting several Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.
‘Deep divisions between communities [in Rakhine] remain unaddressed and humanitarian access is inadequate,’ she said adding, ‘It is critical that returns do not take place precipitously or prematurely.’
‘[Rohingya] Refugees are still fleeing. Those who arrive have suffered immense violence and trauma in Myanmar. Some have witnessed the deaths of family members and friends. Most have little or nothing to go back to, their homes and villages destroyed,’ Kelly said.
Bangladesh and Myanmar singed an instrument on November 23 to start repatriating Rohingya
people sheltered in Bangladesh within two months and the two neighbours also agreed on establishing a joint working group inside three weeks of signing the ‘arrangement’ for supervising the repatriation process.
According to UN estimates, 6,36,000 Rohingya people entered Bangladesh till Tuesday since the beginning of the new influx, what the United Nations called ‘the world’s fastest-developing refugee emergency’, on August 25.
The new influx began after Myanmar security forces responded to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s reported attacks on August 25 by launching violence which the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing.
UNHCR is encouraged by the reference in the agreement that it would improve condition in Myanmar, Kelly said.
She said that they noted the commitments to restore normalcy and human rights in Rakhine
State and Rohingya return to comply with international standards of safety, dignity and voluntariness and to commence a process to address root causes in line with Rakhine advisory commission recommendations.
‘Implementation of these commitments would require an international presence and monitoring in areas of return key to ensuring sustainability and preventing further waves of displacement [of Rohingya]’ Kelly said.
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