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Red Cross says Myanmar conditions 'not right' for Rohingya return

Conditions are still too dangerous for Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 November, 2018

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The Red Cross has said that conditions are not right for the return on Rohingya refugees back to their homes in Myanmar.
The Red Cross has said that the situation in Myanmar is still not right for the return of Rohingya refugees to their homes.

Continued violence in Rakhine state, the destruction of homes, and other factors mean the safe return of the refugees can not be guaranteed.

"We still believe that the conditions are not right for voluntary, safe, dignified returns," said Robert Mardini, the International Committee of the Red Cross' UN observer.

Around 700,000 Rohingya have sought refuge in Bangladesh since August 2017 following a military crackdown in Rakhine state.

This year, the UN called for a genocide tribunal to judge the generals responsible for the massacres.

A 440-page UN report into the genocide has detailed the number of attrocities committed by Myanmar's military against the Muslim minority, who continue to live as second-class citizens in the country or in terrible conditions in Bangladesh camps.

Mardini said that "so many villages" have been raised in Rakhine state that there are few or no homes for the refugees to return to.

The Red Cross is one of the few humanitarian organisations operating in the state.

Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to repatriate Rohingya expelled in the recent military campaign, but they fear returning to a country without guarantees of citizenship, safety and basic rights.

Northern Rakhine has been undergoing massive redevelopment in their absence and Rohingya advocates say the process amounts to an effort to erase their history for good.

The UN, which has been granted access to parts of Myanmar's northern Rakhine state where most Rohingya used to live, says conditions are not right for the stateless minority to return.

A total of 42 aid agencies and NGOS said this week that Rohingya in the camps in Bangladesh were "terrified" about the prospect of coming back.


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