Rohingyas enlisted for repatriation do not want to go back

Teknaf Correspondent
Published : 15:49, Aug 20, 2019 | Updated : 18:06, Aug 20, 2019

Rohingya refugees gather at a market inside a refugee camp in Cox`s Bazar, Bangladesh, March 7, 2019. REUTERSThe Rohingyas enlisted for repatriation expressed their unwillingness about going back to Myanmar at this moment at an interview held at Shalbagan camp in Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf.

A group of eight to ten Rohingyas appeared for the interviews sometime after 1:30 pm on Tuesday (Aug 20) and gave the opinion, confirmed Shalbagan Rohingya camp in charge Mohammad Khaled Hossain.

Khaled said: “None of the Rohingya men and women who have been enlisted for repatriation want to go back.”

Representatives from the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) and Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) went to see the Rohingyas and asked them to attend the interviews after no one appeared for the scheduled interviews in the morning, Khaled said.

Security forces were more vigilant than usual at the camp centring the interviews.

Emerging from the interview, a Rohingya man named Abu Siddique that he had told officials at the interview that he did not wish to return under the present circumstances.

“We want justice for the crimes committed against us. We will go back only if our land is returned and we are granted citizenship.”

One of other enlisted Rohingyas wishing to remain anonymous said: “Representatives of UNHRC and camp in charge came to my house in the morning and asked me to go for the interview in the evening. They told me my name was on the repatriation list.”

He added that he didn’t want to go back to a country where they lived under so much torture and oppression.

“I’ll only go back if the crimes committed against us are brought to book.”

The Myanmar army began a crackdown on the Rohingyas in Rakhine state in August of 2017 causing around 700,000 Rohingyas to cross the border into Bangladesh and take shelter here. 

An estimated 1,185,557 Rohingyas, mostly women and children, who fled persecution in Myanmar at various time periods are living in 30 refugee camps in Ukhia and Teknaf, says the United Nations. 

Under mounting international pressure, Myanmar signed an agreement with Bangladesh in January of 2018 to take back the Rohingyas who were driven away from their homes in Rakhine as part of an ethnic cleansing.