Dhaka, Bangladesh
Rohingya bodies want security before return

Rohingya bodies want security before return

Rohingya organizations, operating globally, have sought guarantee of ensuring the security of Rohingyas' life and property and "peaceful-coexistence" as equals with all other people in Rakhine and Myanmar before they return there as the repatriation is set to start on January 23, reports UNB. "There is no change of attitude of the Myanmar government and its military towards Rohingya; still they identify Rohingya as recent "Bengali interlopers" from Bangladesh; and Rohingyas continue entering into Bangladesh due to continuing violence and brutality against them in Arakan," they said in a joint statement. The organizations gave 12-point measures saying those are "imperative for safe and voluntary" repatriation of the Rohingyas. They said the UNHCR, which is a mandated UN protection agency, should be involved in all process of repatriation. A senior foreign ministry official, however, said Myanmar is still "hesitant" about involvement of UNHCR or other UN mandated organizations in the repatriation process. He said the Myanmar side said that they will look into the matter and it is not UNHCR, Myanmar may consider involvement of ICRC or other organizations in the process. Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on 'physical arrangement' which says the repatriation process will "preferably" be completed by the next two years of its commencement. The joint statement said the refugees should be allowed to put down their identity as "Rohingya", the UN-recognized name to self-identify and refugee representatives should be discussed in all process of repatriation. They said repatriation must be fully voluntary and the refuges should be rehabilitated in their original homes and properties, with full compensation under the supervision of the UN with peace-keeping force, not to displacement sites in Myanmar. Demilit-arized UN safe zones shall be created in Northern Rakhine State, as an interim measure, in order to guarantee security of life, property and dignity of the persecuted people, as well as to ensure confidence, faith and understanding in the minds of the heavily terrified and traumatized refugees, the joint statement reads. The Myanmar government, they said, must restore their full Myanmar citizenship ensuring all rights and freedoms -- security of life, property, honour, dignity, freedom of religion, movement, education, marriage, employment etc. -- without any infringement, restriction, and discrimination in all affairs of their national activities. They mentioned that the Myanmar government shall recognize the "Rohingya ethnicity" allowing them to peacefully co-exist in Arakan/Rakhine State as equals with their "collective rights" on par with other ethnic nationalities of the country. The Myanmar Citizenship Law of 1982 must be scrapped or amended aligning it with international standards and treaties to which Myanmar is State Party, including articles 7 and 8 of the Convention on the Rights of Child, said the organizations. They said land is asset and means of making living and all previous land and landed properties of the refugees must be given back to them immediately. They organizations said necessary arrangement shall be made to try and punish all perpetrators by an international independent tribunal. They said the Myanmar government shall stop and prohibit all forms of racism, incitement, propaganda, hate speech, Islamophobia, decrees and directives against the Rohingyas and other Muslims. The organizations also said the Myanmar government must allow unimpeded humanitarian aids to all needy and unfettered access to the media and rights groups to Northern Arakan/Rakhine state. The welfare of the offspring of rapes and raped women must be ensured, reads the joint statement. "We, the undersigned Rohingya organisations worldwide express our serious concern over an agreement, signed on November 23, 2017, between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the return of some 670,000 Rohingya refugees who have recently taken refuge in Bangladesh after fleeing Myanmar genocide," said the statement. The signatories are Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO), Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK), British Rohingya Community in UK, Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark, Burmese Rohingya Association Japan (BRAJ), Rohingya Advocacy Network in Japan, Burmese Rohingya Community Australia (BRCA), Burmese Rohingya Association in Queensland-Australia (BRAQA), Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organisation, European Rohingya Council (ERC), Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation in Malaysia(MERHROM), Rohingya American Society, Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee, Rohingya Community in Germany, Rohingya Community in Switzerland, Rohingya Community in Finland, Rohingya Community in Italy, Rohingya Community in Sweden, Rohingya Organisation Norway, Rohingya Society Malaysia (RSM) and Rohingya Society Netherlands.

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