UN says Rohingyas should not be forced to return

The United Nations has emphasized safe repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to their homeland without any force.

“People should go back, people or refugees should go back to their homes when they feel it is safe and nobody should be forced to move,” said Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric during a press briefing in New York on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned against premature repatriation of Rohingyas in a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“I think the Secretary-General has been upfront and extremely vocal about the sufferings of the Rohingyas, the sufferings they underwent while living in Myanmar and their plight, their current plight now.

“I think everyone in the UN system agrees on the fact that no-one should be repatriated against their will, that refugees should go home to their place where they came from and in an atmosphere that is free and that respects their rights,” further added Stephane Dujarric.

By 2 December, an estimated 626,000 Rohingyas have taken shelter in Bangladesh following counter-terrorism measures since the coordinated attacks on 30 police stations and military base by the Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army (ARSA) on 25 August in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

On 23 November, Bangladesh and Myanmar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for repatriation of the refugees who have taken shelter in Bangladesh since 25 August. As per the arrangement signed by Bangladesh and Myanmar, repatriation is to begin within two months.

However, a fresh influx of Rohingya Muslims from the Northern Rakhine State of Myanmar is reportedly taking place into Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar even after signing of the MoU. Reports indicate that people are continuing to flee, with some 1,622 people escaping northern Rakhine State since 26 November.

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