How Myanmar will pay for its crimes cannot simply be swept under the rug
It is hardly surprising that only around 100 out of the 3,540 Rohingya refugees enlisted for repatriation appeared for interviews at the Shalbagan refugee campaign -- clearly, in spite of Myanmar’s agreement to take back the Rohingya, most refugees do not feel safe.
As repatriation should be voluntary, the process simply will not work unless and until there is a credible assurance of safety, and not just words, on Myanmar’s part.
After all, Rohingya families on our side of the border have experienced the most horrific things at the hands of the Myanmar army, and so far there is no good reason to believe that Myanmar’s stance towards them has changed.
Authorities in Myanmar have consistently denied the atrocities that have taken place in Rakhine state, and have buried evidence and denied access to journalists in the area.
Making a list of Rohingya names, which has been done, is the easy part; the real challenge is monitoring Myanmar’s actions post-repatriation and a guarantee that no more violations of human rights will take place.
Furthermore, the large shadow of how Myanmar will pay for its crimes cannot simply be swept under the rug, nor can it be seen as separate from a repatriation process.
Not only is it of utmost importance of the truth of the crimes that have taken place to be acknowledged, but in order to prove that Myanmar means it says, it must allow international organizations and journalists to come in and observe the situation on the ground.
The Rohingya have every right to safely go back to their homeland in Myanmar, but they also have the right to be free from any further persecution.