New Delhi: After over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled a security crackdown in Myanmar nearly two years ago, Bangladesh and Myanmar are making a second attempt at repatriating them. However, efforts have been stalled as close to 300 refugee families refused to return to Myanmar on Thursday.
The decision was taken last week by the two governments as they agreed upon August 22 as the date for the return of 3,450 refugees who were cleared by Myanmar.
According to reports, none of the 300 families who were contacted today have agreed to go back even after buses and trucks had been arranged to transport them across the border.
“This is a continuous process,” Mohammad Abdul Kalam, a Bangladeshi refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, told news agency Reuters.
Last year, the two neighbour countires had made a similar attempt that floundered when refugees refused to return to the country they had fled amid fears of more violence.
The United Nations had stated the state military-led crackdown as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” with “genocidal intent”. They had further underlined the need for a return process that is safe, dignified and voluntary.
The Rohingya people, a small predominantly-Muslim community in Bangladesh and Myanmar, have been subjected to widespread discrimination over the past decades by Buddhist nationalists who view the group with mistrust.
Meanwhile, another 125,000 Rohingya continue to live in segregated conditions as internally-displaced people within Rakhine since religious violence broke out in 2012.