Myanmar to allow early Rohingya return despite United Nations warnings

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A Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh

"Conditions in Myanmar are not yet conducive for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees", it said in a statement, adding that the responsibility remains with the government to create such conditions.

The Security Council will send a mission to Iraq, Bangladesh, and Myanmar from April 26 to May 2, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hoping the trip will refocus the attention of the worldwide community on the plight of the Rohingya refugees, his spokesperson has said.

Before the exodus, Bangladesh was already hosting 200,000 Rohingya refugees who had arrived there during earlier episodes of sectarian violence.

Since August 2017, almost 700,000 minority Muslim Rohingyas have fled violence in Myanmar across the border into Bangaldeshs Coxs Bazar, joining several hundred thousand more that were already settled there in overcrowded camps.

The United Nations Security Council will travel to Myanmar and Bangladesh this month to see first-hand the impact of the Rohingya refugee crisis, and to Iraq ahead of elections. That tripartite deal would aim to provide guarantees around the resettlement and safety of those that agree to be repatriated, along with assurances that officials of the UNHCR will be allowed to regularly inspect these sites.

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One of the main points raised was the condition that Myanmar imposed on returning refugees to present official identity documents, which they have always been denied.

Another Bangladeshi official involved in the discussions said the MoU is likely to lay out that the UNHCR will vet all refugees being repatriated to ensure that the process is 100 percent voluntary.

The UNHCR was engaging in talks and coordinating with Bangladesh and Myanmar separately.

The Rohingya minority has been historically segregated in Buddhist majority Myanmar.

The UNHCR also demanded that the restrictions on the movement of internally displaced people living in camps in the central townships of Rakhine state be lifted.

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