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Rohingya repatriation: ARU, ERC demand safeguards for returnees

Rohingya repatriation: ARU, ERC demand safeguards for returnees

The Government of Myanmar Must Renegotiate the Repatriation Agreement with Bangladesh and Allow UNHCR and Rohingya Representatives from Camps to be Parties to the Agreement.

Arakan Rohingya Union and the European Rohingya Council demand the Government of Myanmar to address the security, human rights, and citizenship issues faced by Rohingya ethnic minority before any step is taken to repatriate the forcefully displaced Rohingya from camps in Bangladesh to their original homes in Arakan/Rakhine state.

express deep appreciation to the people and Government of Bangladesh for providing refuge to over a million forcefully displaced Rohingya and for their persistent efforts to find a solution to the crisis. The Government of Bangladesh has signed a bilateral agreement with the Government of Myanmar in good faith for repatriation of Rohingya to their original homes in Arakan. However, the Government of Myanmar continues to demonstrate the lack of transparency and integrity evidenced by its conducts.

Rohingya people express serious concerns over the hostile environment in their homeland of
Arakan where there is no security guarantee for Rohingya returnees. Transferring the displaced
Rohingya from one camp in Bangladesh to another camp on other sides of the border will only add
to the agony of Rohingya.

While engaged with the Government of Bangladesh for repatriation of Rohingya, the Government of Myanmar continues to demolish homes in Rohingya villages that are still intact or only partially damaged. Crucial source of water for livelihood, the tube wells, in large numbers have been removed from the Rohingya villages and being transported to non-Rohingya areas in Arakan. There is still steady outflow of Rohingya from Arakan to camps in Bangladesh. Security in Rohingya villages remains a serious concern as attacks and looting by Myanmar armed forces and Buddhist Rakhine militia have spiraled over the past several days. Most recently, Myanmar authorities have reportedly issued eviction notices to the Rohingya families of the remaining homes in Quarter #5 in Maungdaw East.

The Government of Myanmar continues the NVC (National Verification Card) campaign to further
cement the persecution policy and create stateless condition for the Rohingya ethnic minority. The
Government has failed to demonstrate that it is genuinely working with the Rakhine Commission
for implementation of Annan recommendation.

We demand the Government of Myanmar to:

Immediately stop the issuance of eviction notices to Rohingya households, demolition of existing Rohingya homes, removal of water wells, bulldozing live trees in Rohingya properties, leveling the Rohingya villages to plain fields, and removal of every evidence and traces of property ownership by Rohingya inhabitants.

Work with the Rakhine Commission with full transparency and due respect to the views and integrity of the Commission members, and fully implement the recommendation of the Annan Commission with benchmarks.

Agree to renegotiate the repatriation agreement with Bangladesh with full involvement of the UNHCR and representatives from displaced Rohingya camps in Bangladesh in the entire process of the voluntary return

Provide the international relief and development groups immediate access to all affected areas in Northern Arakan, and allow them to assist in rebuilding the Rohingya villages that were razed.

Initiate a rigorous reconstruction and rehabilitation plan for the returnees well ahead of the repatriation in coordination with the UNHCR, international aid groups, and the displaced Rohingya village representatives for their return to their original homes/properties with no “transit, semi-permanent, or permanent” camps.

Designate “zone of protection” for the Rohingya people in Arakan to be administered by multinational security forces with full mandate.

Clearly address the citizenship, security, human rights, and Buddhist Rakhine militia issues in the repatriation agreement.

Permanently cease the NVC (National Verification Card) campaign, revamp the military’s 1982 Citizenship law, and reinstate the Rohingya’s NRCs (National Registration Certificate).

For further information, contact:

1. Dr. Wakar Uddin
Director General
Arakan Rohingya Union
[email protected]

2. Dr. Hla Kyaw
Chairman
The European Rohingya Council
[email protected]