Boat with 70 Rohingya Muslims leaves Myanmar for Malaysia

Sergio Conner
April 15, 2018

In the early hours of Saturday, Myanmar's government released a statement saying that the first Rohingya family has been repatriated.

The conditions in Myanmar are not yet conducive for the safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees to their homes, the United Nations refugee agency said, underlining that the responsibility for creating such conditions remains with the countrys authorities.

The stateless Muslim minority has been massing in squalid Bangladesh camps since the Myanmar army launched a ruthless crackdown on the community in northern Rakhine state last August.

A new United Nations (UN) report puts Myanmar's armed forces on a UN blacklist of government and rebel groups "credibly suspected" of carrying out assault and other acts of violence in conflict for the first time. After months of delays, five members of a Rohingya family on Thursday went back to Rakhine.

"The five members of a family. came back to Taungpyoletwei town repatriation camp in Rakhine state this morning", the post said.

According to the Myanmar statement, immigration authorities provided the family with national verification cards, a form of ID that falls short of citizenship and has been rejected by Rohingya leaders who want full rights.

Burma has strongly denied that allegation - saying the army had waged a legitimate operation against insurgent Rohingya militants who had attacked more than two dozen police posts and an army base in August.

A man, two women and two children were also photographed getting medical checks and ID cards.

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The Facebook post does not mention further plans to repatriate more Rohingya. The Rohingya family had been living in a camp erected on a patch there [between the two countries].

He said: "The return of this Rohingya family can not be considered as repatriation in any way".

Separately, Andrea Giorgetta from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) told AFP that the repatriation announcement is "a public relations exercise in an attempt to deflect attention from the need for accountability for crimes committed in Rakhine State".

The Rohingya are reviled by many in the Buddhist-majority country, where they are branded as illegal "Bengali" immigrants from Bangladesh, despite their long roots in Rakhine state.

During the visit, Win announced that Myanmar is ready for the repatriation of Rohingya.

Many have refused to take part in repatriation until they receive guarantees about their rights and citizenship.

Doctors Without Borders says the violence claimed at least 6,700 Rohingya lives in the first month alone.

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