Rohingya Repatriation to Myanmar Will Not Begin on Thursday

Sitting next to Aung San Suu Kyi US Vice President Mike Pence condemned the

Chaos and confusion as Rohingya refugee repatriations set to begin

Bangladesh government refugee commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said his team was "completely ready" to start sending back people but stressed that the Rohingya had to be volunteers. There is no question of forcible repatriation.

"If they agree, we will take them to the transit camp and give them three days' worth of food before handing over to Myanmar authorities", he said.

But by Wednesday night, hours before repatriation was due to begin, the UNHCR had spoken to just 48 families who all said they did not want to return to Myanmar in the current conditions.

The Vice President said he also wanted to hear about the repatriation of Rohingya people who fled across the border to Bangladesh, which was expected to begin today, despite concerns that it is still not safe for them to return.

Seppo also welcomed "small improvements" Myanmar had made so far and hoped that the worldwide community and everybody else can work on making more progress on that so that the refugees are able to exercise their rights to return.

Our ethnic identity "Rohingya" must be recognized as an official ethnic group as before 1970s. "No one knows what the situation really is in Myanmar, in Rakhine state".

Global protection must be placed in our homeland before we return.

We seek compensation and reparations for lives lost, injuries inflicted and harm caused. He said the only condition under which they were prepared to return to Myanmar was if they were given citizenship.

All Rohingya prisoners in various prisons must be released.

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He added that he was eager to hear about how Myanmar will enable the voluntarily return.

Innocent Rohingyas must be removed from the terrorists list arbitrarily made by Myanmar authorities.

Issuing National Verification Card must be stopped, and this system must be abolished.

The United Nations could be ambivalent about repatriation after receiving feedback from refugees at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, where the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are overseeing the camps.

And last week, over 20 individuals on the list told Reuters they would refuse to return to Rakhine, as they were terrified.

"The people in charge of the camps are harassing people".

Like many others he has sent his family into hiding in the camps.

Late last month, a group of Rohingya refugees sent a list of 10 demands to Myanmar leader's Aung San Suu Kyi, saying the beleagured community would return only when its demands were met.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has revealed that most Asean leaders have rebuked Aung San Suu Kyi over the Myanmar regime's treatment of the Rohingyas, but in an indirect manner. Amnesty International became the latest organisation to strip her of an award this week, citing the "shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for".

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"I am very disturbed by this talk of going back".

Myanmar's government and most of the nation's Buddhist majority say the Muslims in northern Rakhine are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and do not acknowledge the Muslim minority as a local ethnic group, even though they have lived in Myanmar for generations.

"No, no, we won't go", hundreds of Rohingya protesters chanted in the Unchiprang camp in southeast Bangladesh, near the Myanmar border. "There are a lot of army and police inside the camps".

Bangladesh may be eager to have the refugees return home, and Myanmar, after being denounced for the slaughter, rape and village fires that forced 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee across the border, could be looking to prove the country has turned a new leaf.

Myanmar's government has trumpeted every occasion where a Rohingya family has returned, however many fear returning to Myanmar without guaranteed rights such as citizenship, access to healthcare and freedom of movement - rights that were denied to them long before last year's crackdown.

A United Nations report said Myanmar military leaders should be investigated for genocide. The authorities have built two repatriation centers where the refugees will remain until their return to Myanmar.

The mass exodus of Rohingya began after the Myanmar military responded to an initial attack from a group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on August 25, 2017.

Myanmar denies nearly all of the accusations, saying its security forces have been engaged in a counter-insurgency operation against "terrorists".

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