First camp for Rohingya refugees returning to Burma will open next week

Rakhine State residents arrive at the hospital in Sittwe Myanmar after getting injured by the police in a demonstration Tuesday evening. — Reuters

The Myanmar police have filed charges against a parliament member and a writer for giving instigative talks about Rakhine sovereignty in Yathedaung, the country's western Rakhine state, Myanmar News Agency reported Thursday.

Tuesday's meeting at Myanmar's capital Naypyitaw was the first by a joint working group set up to hammer out the details of the November repatriation agreement.

"Previous episodes of displacement and return of the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities, over the last 20 years do not inspire confidence", it added. Myanmar and Bangladesh have reached a deal on the return of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingyas that sidelined the United Nations refugee agency. Myanmar will then shelter the Rohingya in temporary accommodations while rebuilding houses for them.

More than 650,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh since Burma's military launched a brutal crackdown in August following attacks on police posts by a militant group.

"That's completely counterproductive", Nauert said while responding to a question on the agreement reached between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the repatriation of the Rohingyas.

The UN and various human rights organisations have said there is clear evidence of rights abuses in Myanmar, with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calling the Army's operations "ethnic cleansing" and saying there were indications of "genocide". "This is the precursor to establishing any voluntary, safe, and dignified return".

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"Myanmar has reiterated its commitment to stop outflow of Myanmar residents to Bangladesh", it said.

"This leaves the government in a hard situation politically, particularly at a time when the [ruling] NLD (National League for Democracy) has been governing with gunshots", he added, referring to a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine state that followed attacks on government security posts by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) insurgents in late August 2017.

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.

Officials plan to start the repatriation process from January 23.

"Where are considerations for protection of the Rohingya from Myanmar security forces who months ago were raping and killing them?" said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the group's Asia Division.


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