Security tightened as Myanmar delegation visits Rohingya camps
DHAKA, Bangladesh – Security at Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh will be tightened during the visit of a high-level Myanmar delegation this weekend for repatriation talks, officials said Thursday, July 25.
Some 740,000 Rohingya fled a crackdown by Myanmar's military in 2017 in Rakhine state and are living in nearly 3 dozen refugee camps in Bangladesh's southeastern border district of Cox's Bazar.
Many still fear for their safety if they return to Myanmar, where the Muslim minority has faced decades of repression and erosion of rights.
"We have stepped up security in the camps during their tour," Bangladesh's refugee commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam told AFP.
He added that the delegation would meet with Rohingya leaders this weekend to inform them of measures they have taken for their return to Rakhine.
The camps – where the Rohingya population has grown to nearly a million – have sparked tensions between the neighboring countries with Bangladesh blaming Myanmar for delays in repatriating the refugees.
The two governments signed a repatriation deal in November 2017, but so far virtually no Rohingya have volunteered to return. Bangladesh has said it will not force any Rohingya to leave.
Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen told reporters in the capital Dhaka on Wednesday, July 24, he hoped the "repatriation will begin by September".
Myanmar has faced international pressure to allow the Rohingya to return to Rakhine and grant them citizenship rights.
The United Nations has complained that progress to address the refugee crisis has been far too slow.
Last November a move to start the repatriation process fell through after none of the Rohingya agreed to return to their country. It followed a visit to the camps in October last year by a Myanmar delegation.
The new visit comes in the wake of talks between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
China is a key ally of Myanmar, and Hasina said then that Beijing would "do whatever is required" to help resolve the Rohingya crisis. – Rappler.com
Here are more stories about the Rohingya of Myanmar:
- US bans Myanmar army chief over Rohingya 'ethnic cleansing'
- Deadly monsoon destroys 5,000 shelters in Bangladesh Rohingya camps
- Myanmar army rejects ICC bid for full Rohingya probe
- ICC prosecutor seeks full Myanmar atrocities probe
- Malaysian PM vows ahead of ASEAN to help Rohingya bound for country
- ASEAN leaders told to get serious on Rohingya issue