Bangladesh, UNHCR to Ink Preliminary Plan on Rohingya Repatriation

Myanmar’s crackdown against its Rohingya minority has been dubbed ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the US and UN. – AFP

Myanmar’s crackdown against its Rohingya minority has been dubbed ‘ethnic cleansing’ by the US and UN. – AFP

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) have signed a $3 million agreement to provide emergency relief to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

"Conditions in Myanmar are not yet conducive for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees", it said in a statement, adding that the responsibility remains with the government to create such conditions.

UNHCR appreciates KSRelief's kind and timely contribution particularly in light of the pressing need for emergency assistance for thousands of Rohingya refugees who have arrived to Bangladesh in search of refuge and safety.

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The UNHCR thanked Bangladesh for its hospitality, protection and assistance to those refugees.

Over 670,000 Rohingyas, a mainly Muslim minority living in Myanmar, fled the northwestern Rakhine state since the end of August after a wave of persecution and violence that the United Nations described as an attempt at "ethnic cleansing".

Myanmar has said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over the country and hence can not try it over allegations that hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas were deported to neighbouring Bangladesh. The refugees are living in cramped camps at Cox's Bazar, and Bangladesh is keen to urge the refugees to return home soon, especially with the oncoming monsoons expected to cause major devastation at the camps.

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The MoU, signed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Bangladesh foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque in Geneva, established a framework of cooperation between UNHCR and Bangladesh on the safe, voluntary, and dignified returns of refugees in line with worldwide standards.

One step it could immediately take is to provide UNHCR and other relevant actors with full and unhindered access to refugees SNG-QTS places of origin in Rakhine, which would enable UNHCR to assess the situation and provide information to refugees about conditions in the places of origin, as well as to monitor any possible future return and reintegration of refugees.

"The whole return process will be operated as per the UNHCR, so there will be no force put on the refugee to go back", the source said.

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