Burma repatriates first Rohingya refugee family: government


A new United Nations report puts Myanmar's armed forces on a United Nations blacklist for carrying out rapes and other acts of sexual violence. "The repatriated Rohingya family did not reach Bangladesh as they used to live on no-man's land", Kamal said while talking to reporters this noon.

Almost 7,00,000 Rohingya Muslims fled from Myanmar and are bearing the physical and psychological scars of brutal sexual assault.

The United States and the United Nations have described the Myanmar military operation as ethnic cleansing.

The report will be discussed during UN Security Council meeting on Monday.

Burma and Bangladesh agreed in January to complete a voluntary repatriation of the refugees in two years.

An advance copy of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' report to the Security Council, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, says global medical staff and others in Bangladesh have documented that numerous nearly 700,000 Rohingya who fled from Myanmar "bear the physical and psychological scars of brutal assault".

Myanmar has denied almost all allegations, saying it waged a legitimate counter-insurgency operation.

The Myanmar government announced late on Saturday that a family of refugees had become the first to be processed in newly built repatriation centres earlier that day.

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Most Burmese consider the Rohingya as unwanted immigrants from Bangladesh, and the army refers to them as "Bengalis".

Several thousand Rohingya have been living in the zone since August, crammed into a cluster of tents beyond a barbed-wire fence that roughly demarcates the border zone between the two countries.

Andrea Giorgetta from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) criticised the repatriation announcement as "a public relations exercise in an attempt to deflect attention from the need for accountability for crimes committed in Rakhine state".

She cited a continued lack of access to health services, concerns among the Rohingya about protection and continued displacements.

The website claimed after conducting its own investigation that family entered the border area, where the refugees are camped out, to try "persuade" other Rohingya families to return to Myanmar.

In Myanmar, together with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UNHCR is in ongoing discussions with the government on a tripartite agreement to outline the scope of cooperation between these agencies and the Myanmar Government in Rakhine State.

The UN refugee agency has said conditions in Myanmar were not ready for the Rohingya refugees to return.