Hindustan Times, Nov 12, 2018 - The repatriation of ethnic Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh, to which more than 700,000 fled since last year to escape deadly violence carried out by Myanmar’s security forces, will begin this week, top Myanmar officials said Sunday.
Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat Aye announced at a news conference that Bangladesh had informed Myanmar authorities that repatriation, agreed upon in principle months ago, would begin on Thursday. A Myanmar government statement said an initial group of 2,251 would be sent back from mid-November at a rate of 150 per day.
Noting that the actual date depended upon Bangladesh taking action, Win Myat Aye said, “Whether it will happen on the day or not, we have to be ready on our side and we try our best to do that.” Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s repatriation commissioner, said he was unaware that a date had been set. “I have got no decision from our foreign ministry or any other higher authorities,” he said.
The Rohingya exodus began after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown following coordinated insurgent attacks in August 2017. The scale, organization and ferocity of the operation led to accusations from the international community, including the United Nations, of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Myanmar’s government has denied this.