Experts voice concerns over Rohingya repatriation deal

Repatriation deal for displaced Rohingya, fleeing violent crackdown in Myanmar, is designed for failure, warn experts

Experts voice concerns over Rohingya repatriation deal

World Bulletin / News Desk

In the wake of Bangladesh and Myanmar signing a deal to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar’s Rakhine state, most experts see "zero probability" that the deal will be implemented.

The bilateral deal, signed this Nov. 23, stipulates some nearly impossible conditions for the verification of the residency of the people the agreement calls "displaced persons from Myanmar" instead of their widely known ethnic identity of Rohingya.

C.R. Abrar, coordinator of the Dhaka-based Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RAMMRU), told Anadolu Agency that the agreement was rubbish, as by signing the deal Myanmar only aimed to ease the international pressure on it.

Abrar, one of the most prominent experts in Bangladesh on the Rohingya, said the agreement had “many limitations”.

“There is no way to involve a third party to identify refugees, according to the pact.”

Some sections of the deal would make repatriation impossible, according to him.

“Because all the documents the Rohingya had were taken by Myanmar by force when they fled persecution, and there was no reason to carry the documents under the [dire] circumstances when they had to flee genocide,” he said.

And even if the Rohingya show the documents claiming their residency, Myanmar’s government has the right to reject anyone it wants, according to Abrar.

He added: “We’ve learned that Myanmar’s government has changed the official names of many villages and residential areas in Rakhine state. If the Rohingya mention the name of a village or the city, in light of this it’s doubtful they will be accepted.”

Although Rohingya refugees should willingly return to their homeland, he said: “I see no reason that they will go back.”

“I think this deal is pure rubbish. It will be used by Myanmar’s government as a defense against international criticism.”

He said the deal says nothing about including human rights groups and NGOs providing humanitarian assistance to the repatriation process.

The agreement only envisages that the two governments "will duly coordinate with the UNHCR,” the UN refugee agency, if needed.

"It’s been said that the returning Rohingya would be held in camps for a short period of time but there’s no fixed duration.

“I don’t think there’s any section in this agreement that protects the Rohingya’s rights, and that's why I don’t think they'll go back."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Aralık 2017, 01:50