Why the Rohingya Can’t Yet Return to Myanmar

The agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar specifies that the refugees should be returned to their homes and property. It is highly improbable, because different Rohingya villages have already been burned and their cattle and lands seized by their Buddhist neighbors.

And last week, Myanmar announced that it might be building camps for some of the returnees. It is unclear whether it’s a significant policy proposal or just one more talking level. No details about the capability of the proposed camps are available. What is known is this: Myanmar’s minister for resettlement, Gain Myat Aye, has explained that his country would be taking back no more than 300 refugees per day. At that rate, it would take over five and a half years for all the 600,000 Rohingyas to be allowed back in.

Newsletter Sign Up Read on the main story Sign Up for the View Today Newsletter Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial plank and contributing writers from all over the world. Please verify you are not a robot by pressing the box. Invalid email. Please re-enter. You need to select a newsletter a subscription to. SUBSCRIBE You consent to receive occasional improvements and special offers for THE BRAND NEW York Times’s services and products. Many thanks for subscribing. An error has occurred. Please make an effort again later. View all New York Times newsletters.

The other issue is that the resettlement should be voluntary. Why would a Rohingya prefer moving from a refugee camp in a relatively safe region to a refugee camp within an intensely hostile region and depend upon safety from the very people who killed their families and burned their villages?

Several Rohingya refugees We met on the camps on Bangladesh did tell me that if they were granted citizenship and equal rights, they would return to Myanmar. But that seems improbable as a result of Myanmar’s long record of systematically depriving the Rohingyas of their legal and basic human rights.

The federal government of Myanmar has given no assurances about the legal status of the returnees nor spoken about guaranteeing their safety. They might simply finish up being described as “immigrants from Bangladesh,” a expression their persecutors all along used to describe them.

A recent statement from Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s armed service chief, about the proposed repatriation process has renewed fears about the basic safety of potential returnees. “The problem must be suitable for both localized Rakhine ethnic people and Bengalis, and emphasis must be placed on (the) would like of localized Rakhine ethnic people who are genuine Myanmar citizens,” he said.

All this raises serious doubts about the agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar. Many Bangladeshi leaders I met in Dhaka after the agreement was signed seemed keen to send out the Rohingyas with no given much thought to how they might achieve it. They regard the Rohingyas as a fiscal burden on the impoverished region and a potential security threat.

Advertisement Continue studying the main story

Bangladesh features tried to keep carefully the Rohingya refugees in camps isolated from the rest of society to signal they are not designed to live there once and for all. Bangladeshi politicians signed the agreement because from their viewpoint, any deal that may move some Rohingyas again across the border is an excellent deal.

For the civilian government of Myanmar and its de facto head, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the refugee agreement is a pr exercise to defend against international condemnation. Options in Myanmar explained there is no communication between the armed service and Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s federal government on the issue. Without support from the armed service leadership, even if she’d be hence inclined, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi cannot prevent the army from assaulting the Rohingyas.

The Rohingyas know it. And that is why there isn’t much in the form of a brand to complete resettlement varieties around Cox’s Bazar. Residing in Cox’s Bazar is the better alternative for the Rohingyas right now. Bangladesh must let them stay and not try to push them again over the border in to the hands of their persecutors.

Read more on: http://nytimes.com