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Dhaka Tribune

Home minister:  Taking back only one Rohingya family is ridiculous

Update : 15 Apr 2018, 10:57 PM
Taking back only one Rohingya family out of thousands of refugees living in the no man’s land is nothing but a ridiculous move of the Myanmar government, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said. “The Rohingya family that the Myanmar government claimed was taken back to their home country used to live in the no man’s land. They had never come to Bangladesh for shelter,” he told reporters, emerging from a meeting with representatives of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, held in Dhaka on Sunday. “At least 6,000 Rohingyas are living in miserable conditions in the no man’s land. Taking back only one family out of this many homeless people, is really ridiculous,” he said, expressing his hopes that Myanmar would take back its citizens in the quickest possible time. The minister further said: “More than 1.1 million Rohingya people have crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar’s Rakhine state. We have completed biometric registration of the refugees and handed their data to the Myanmar government.” In a statement on Saturday, the Myanmar government claimed: “Five members of a Muslim family came to the Taungpyoletwea reception centre in Rakhine state in the morning,” The family members were scrutinized by immigration and health ministry officials and the social welfare, relief and resettlement ministry provided them with “materials such as rice, mosquito netting, blankets, t-shirt, longyis (Burmese sarong) and kitchen utensils,” the statement added. It also said the family members who “are in line with the rules” were issued the National Verification Cards (NVCs) upon entering Myanmar. NVCs are part of the government’s ongoing effort to register Rohingya that falls short of offering them citizenship. The card has been widely rejected by Rohingya community leaders, who say they treat life-long residents like new immigrants. Fleeing Rohingya refugees have reported killings, rape and arson on a large scale. The United States and the United Nations have described the Myanmar military operation as ethnic cleansing. Myanmar has denied nearly all allegations, saying it waged a legitimate counter-insurgency operation. The army has said its crackdown was provoked by the attacks of Rohingya militants on more than two dozen police posts and an army bases last August. Around 6,500 Rohingyas have taken shelter in the no man’s land since August 25 last year, when ethnic conflicts in Rakhine sparked the most rapid human exodus seen since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Since then, over 700,000 others have crossed into Bangladesh fearing for their lives, joining more than 400,000 others who were already living in cramped makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazar. On November 23, Dhaka and Naypyidaw signed an agreement to begin repatriating the refugees from January this year, but this process stalled over technical and ground-level complexities.Sections of this article were taken from banglatribune.com
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