Human Rights Watch, a non-government organisation, today said Bangladesh should suspend the Rohingya refugee repatriation plan entirely as it "threatens the refugees' security and well-being."
The plan has sparked fears in refugee camps of Bangladesh that people may be forced to return despite a lack of guarantees around their security.
On January 16, Myanmar and Bangladesh announced an agreement that provides additional details on a plan that would repatriate over 770,000 mostly Rohingya Muslim refugees who left Myanmar’s Rakhine State since October 2016.
“Rohingya refugees shouldn’t be returned to camps guarded by the very same Burmese forces who forced them to flee massacres and gang rapes, and torched villages,” Human Rights Watch said in a press release today quoting Brad Adams, Asia director.
“The repatriation plan appears to be a public relations ploy to hide the fact that Burma has not taken measures to ensure safe and sustainable returns,” the official said.
Burmese authorities have shown no ability to ensure the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of Rohingya refugees as provided by international standards, Human Rights Watch said in the press release.
The plan, agreed in November 2017, would move returnees from processing centers to a hastily built “transit camp” before possible return to their home areas, where hundreds of villages have been burned to the ground. Internally displaced Rohingya moved in the past to such “temporary” camps have lacked enough aid and have been unable to move freely while being denied other basic rights.