The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) has blamed the Myanmar government saying that it is not interested in genuine Rohingya repatriation but is just playing games with the international community, including Bangladesh.
In a statement issued on Saturday, ARSA termed the Myanmar government and the army as ‘terrorist’ while the extremist group claimed that the military is still continuing atrocities at Rakhine villages.
Dhaka Tribune has obtained the ARSA’s statement in which the outfit mentioned that the Myanmar army and some Rakhine extremists burnt Rohingya houses at Maungdaw’s Taung Pyo Let Yar village and Buthidaung’s Let Wea Det Pyin Shey village on January 22 and 24, respectively.
“Therefore, until today, Rohingyas are fleeing from their home towns to Bangladesh and no Rohingya in their right mind will ever think of repatriation to Arakan State without the presence of international peacekeeping forces.”
“ARSA would like to draw the special attention of the international community to the fact that the Burmese terrorist government and its terrorist army have no genuine intention at all to resolve the Rohingya humanitarian crisis,” the statement said.
“The Rohingya repatriation plan offered by the Burmese terrorist government is not anywhere near to the solution but it creates more annihilation to the Rohingyas. The Burmese terrorist government is building up concentration camps and forcing repatriated Rohingyas to resettle there instead of allowing them to settle back in their places of origin.”
“The Burmese terrorist government is forcing repatriated Rohingyas to accept the National Verification Card (NVC) despite the fact that Rohingya is the indigenous native ethnic community of Arakan State.”
The ‘Myanmar terrorist government’ publishes photos of innocent Rohingya civilians, including the photo of a five-year old child, claiming them to be the members of ARSA with the intention to intimidate those who wish to repatriate, ARSA claimed in its statement which is also available in its Twitter page and other social media.
Welcoming Bill Richardson's decision to resign from the Advisory Board on Rakhine State – terming the board as whitewashing Advisory Board, ARSA Commander-in-Chief Ataullah urged the other members of the board to refrain from assisting the Myanmar government and its army in crime against Rohingyas.
The fact-finding mission of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), after visiting the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar from January 21 to 24, found that there is still no friendly environment in Myanmar for the repatriation of Rohingyas.
APHR Chairperson and Malaysian MP Charles Santiago recently stressed the need for accountability of Myanmar government and the country’s army, compensation for the Rohingyas, Rohingya recognition issue, peacekeeping during repatriation, and right to practice one’s own religion and culture.
“Rohingyas are nowhere in the discussion. They should be given a clear idea about the repatriation agreement and its content,” Santiago said, adding that without presence of peacekeeping force repatriation will be difficult, in other words, he said, it will be almost impossible. “Repatriation should be safe and voluntary.”
Bangladesh government’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission said that 688,150 Rohingyas entered the country until January 25 since August 25 last year after being displaced by the oppression of Myanmar Army and their associates.
Apart from the recent influx, hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas are living at two upazilas of Cox’s Bazar for years, said the RRRC. But local sources said about 1.5 million Rohingya people, including the recent ones, are currently living in Cox’s Bazar.
On January 16, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on ‘Physical Arrangement’ which will facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland following a deal between the two countries in November last year regarding the repatriation.