Myanmar police kill 8 protesters in Rakhine State

There is a "grave risk" in plans for repatriation for Rohingya refugees to Myanmar without the understanding of their legal status, destination and willingness to return, a parliament committee report said.

"The agreement stigmatizes the Rohingya people as would-be terrorists and includes unrealistic demands that these people, who fled for their lives with no possessions, show proof of residency to the very government that denied them of their citizenship, making it hard for them to believe that they will be protected upon returning home". But it said the return effort envisages "considering the family as a unit", with Myanmar to provide temporary shelter for those returning before rebuilding houses for them.

Tuesday's meeting at Myanmar's capital Naypyitaw was the first by a joint working group set up to hammer out the details of the November repatriation agreement.

The Bangladesh statement said "Myanmar has reiterated its commitment to stop (the) outflow of Myanmar residents to Bangladesh".

Naypyidaw, Jan. 18 (IANS): Myanmar said on Thursday that it has asked Bangladesh to arrest and extradite more than 1,300 Rohingyas suspected of taking part in a rebel assault against government checkpoints in Rakhine state in August a year ago. "This is the precursor to establishing any voluntary, safe, and dignified return".

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State-run media in Burma reported on Monday the 124-acre Hla Po Khaung camp will accommodate about 30,000 people in 625 buildings and that at least 100 buildings are to be completed by the end of the month.

"This leaves the government in a hard situation politically, particularly at a time when the [ruling] NLD (National League for Democracy) has been governing with gunshots", he added, referring to a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine state that followed attacks on government security posts by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) insurgents in late August 2017.

Some 650,000 people fled the violence, prompting a response by UN Refugee Agency. "In Myanmar, Rohingyas have been the victims of ethnic cleansing at the hands of Myanmar's security forces and also local vigilantes".

US-based Human Rights Watch said the discussions between Myanmar and Bangladesh failed to include any understanding of what the Rohingya want.

The killings have been condemned by Amnesty International, with James Gomez, the rights group's director for Southeast Asia, saying it is a clear case of excessive use of force.

  • Marjorie Miles