Today in Refugees Deeply, Dr Jeff Crisp (RSC Research Associate) writes about the proposed repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar. He states, “One of the most striking characteristics of the Rohingya exodus from Myanmar to Bangladesh has been the speed with which the two states have started to discuss and plan for the refugees’ repatriation.”
The recent exodus of Rohingya began in late August 2017. Negotiations on repatriation between Bangladesh and Myanmar started in early October, while refugees continued to flee, and by mid-November a bilateral agreement had been reached to begin repatriation within two months.
As Crisp writes, the repatriation process is due to begin on January 22, but the refugees themselves “are extremely reluctant to return to a country where they have been subjected to terrible violence and where they would continue to be deprived of citizenship, rights and economic opportunities.”
The UN’s refugee and migration agencies have both said they have had no involvement in the repatriation planning process.
Crisp calls on UNHCR to ensure that earlier scenarios where Rohingya refugees were forced to return to Myanmar are not repeated. He also discusses other recent examples of premature repatriation, and comments that “the scale and frequency of involuntary refugee returns in recent years suggest that a fundamental norm of refugee protection is now being challenged as never before.”
Read the article here >>