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Press Release: Myanmar, not Bangladesh, is responsible for failed repatriation

Press Release 
20, November 2018

Myanmar, not Bangladesh, is responsible for failed repatriation

On behalf of the Rohingya people, we would like to express regret and disgust at Myanmar's policy of continuously blaming Bangladesh for the failure of repatriation of Rohingya refugees. As we all know, the ground reality in Arakan (Rakhine) State makes repatriation of Rohingya refugees impossible as the brutal state machinery continues their genocide of the defenceless Muslim community, a policy in place for more than half a century. The sad truth is that Myanmar government has no intention of creating condition for sustainable repatriation and is responsible for failed repatriation and deserving of blame. We strongly condemn it. 

On the contrary, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the government and people of Bangladesh who are hosting more than a million people in their country. Refugees are a burden for every country in the world, including developed nations, as has been seen in Europe over the past few years. Despite being the most overpopulated and a resource constrained nation Bangladesh has shown extraordinary generosity in letting the Rohingya refugees stay, with humanity the only motive. Myanmar's suggestion that Bangladesh does not want the Rohingya refugees is ridiculous. 

The genocide of Rohingyas is still ongoing, and the remaining Rohingyas in Arakan State continue to be persecuted, and preparations are underway to shift them away from their ancestral villages to IDP camps. State sponsored Buddhist nationalists are protesting against the repatriation of the Rohingyas. The situation of those who have been confined to ghettos and IDP camps following 2012 deadly violence shows no improvement. 

The issue of restoring citizenship to the Rohingya and recognition of their ethnic name “Rohingya” are not even being discussed. There is no change of attitude of the Myanmar authorities towards Rohingyas and other Muslim communities in the country. It is this reality that has terrified the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh every time the word repatriation is mentioned. In truth Rohingyas want sustainable return to their ancestral homeland in Arakan in safety, in dignity and with justice, not to killing field, where bloodshed and violence awaits them. 

It is disgusting to notice that the country responsible for the ongoing genocide continues to shift blame on its neighbour Bangladesh, a country which has tried to offer sustainable solutions for this ongoing crisis, including a serious effort to start repatriation on November 15. But because of Myanmar’s unchanged policy, such an effort was bound to be fruitless. 

On behalf of all Rohingya refugees, we maintain that we want to return to our homeland as long as it is protected from the forces that are complicit in the genocide of the Muslims in Arakan. That would require the demilitarization of the zone as it is absurd to suggest that Rohingyas can return to a zone where the Myanmar military retains the ultimate authority. It would also require the Government of Myanmar to legally recognise the Rohingyas as an ethnic minority as well as full citizens of Myanmar, consistent to other ethnic minorities of the country, as opposed to illegal immigrants, and rehabilitate and reintegrate IDPs in Akyab (Sittwe), Kyauktaw, Mrauk U and other townships affected by the 2012 deadly violence in their original habitats and make peace with all ethnic and religious minorities who are being persecuted since the 1960s. 

Instead of doing that, we notice that Myanmar's leaders including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has persistently laid the blame on the Government of Bangladesh. We would like to reiterate that such a policy is doomed to failure. On the other hand, we would once again like to thank the Government of Bangladesh led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and of course the generous people of Bangladesh who have been persistent in their help for our community especially at a time when we needed it the most. We request Bangladesh to ignore Myanmar's blame game policy and pursue a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis. 

Last but not the least, we are grateful for Bangladesh's decision not to force the Rohingya refugees out as it would have led them to the killing fields of Arakan. 

For more details, please contact:

Australia: Dr. Hla Myint +61-423381904
Bangladesh: Ko Ko Linn: +880-1726068413
Canada: Nur Hasim +1-5195725359
Japan: Zaw Min Htut +81-8030835327
U.K. Ronnie: +44-7783118354
U.S.A: Dr. Habibullah: +1-4438158609

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