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Rohingya groups call for better repatriation deal

Rohingya groups call for better repatriation deal
Arakan Rohingya Union, European Rohingya Council demand Myanmar to renegotiate repatriation agreement with Bangladesh

By Sena Guler and Fatih Hafiz Mehmet

ANKARA (AA) - The Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU) and the European Rohingya Council (ERC) on Wednesday called on Myanmar to renegotiate the repatriation deal with Bangladesh and allow UNHCR and Rohingya representatives from camps to become parties to the agreement.

In a joint statement, the ARU and ERC said the Myanmar government had to "address the security, human rights and citizenship issues faced by Rohingya ethnic minority before any step is taken to repatriate the forcefully displaced Rohingya from camps in Bangladesh to their original homes in Rakhine state".

Voicing its serious concern over the security situation in Rohingya villages, they said "attacks and looting by Myanmar armed forces and Buddhist Rakhine militia have spiraled over the past several days".

Myanmar government has failed to show it "genuinely works with the Rakhine Commission for implementation of Annan recommendation," according to the statement.

The groups urged Myanmar to "work with the Rakhine Commission with full transparency and due respect to the views and integrity of the Commission members, and fully implement the recommendation of the Annan Commission with benchmarks".

The ARU and ERC demanded the government to renegotiate the repatriation agreement with the involvement of the UNHCR and representatives among displaced people at Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.

They asked Myanmar government to allow the international relief and development groups to assist in rebuilding the Rohingya villages that were razed.

The statement also called on the government to "initiate a rigorous reconstruction and rehabilitation plan for the returnees well ahead of the repatriation in coordination with the UNHCR, international aid groups, and the displaced Rohingya village representatives for their return to their original homes/properties with no transit, semi-permanent, or permanent camps".

The bilateral deal between Myanmar and Bangladesh, signed on Nov. 23 last year, stipulates some nearly impossible conditions for verifying residency of the people the agreement calls "displaced persons from Myanmar" instead of their widely known ethnic identity of Rohingya.

Right groups including Human Rights Watch (HRW), the UN Refugee Agency and Amnesty International have voiced their concern over the deal, saying it would send Rohingya back to the brutality in Myanmar.

Amnesty called the plan "alarmingly premature" while HRW called on both governments to redraft the agreement involving the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Earlier this month, Bangladesh and Myanmar finalized an agreement on the physical arrangements for the repatriation of the Rohingya and agreed to send 100,000 Rohingya to Myanmar in the first phase.

source: News Feed
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