Date: June 8, 2018
ERC call for transparency and inclusiveness on tripartite MoU for Rohingya’s return
The European Rohingya Council (ERC) welcomes the principle of return of Rohingya refugee to their homeland. However, ERC is deeply concerned about the lack of transparency and inclusiveness of Rohingya representatives in the recent tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UNHCR, UNDP and Republic of Union of Myanmar. Therefore, ERC calls for transparency and inclusiveness of Rohingya representatives in the discussion process of ‘the protected return of Rohingya into their protected homeland’.
In light of the previous horrific experiences Rohingya community had faced during 1978-79, and 1992-4 repatriations, our community is gravely concerned about experiencing same scenarios in the upcoming repatriation. Several credible reports and eye witnesses described the horrific experiences Rohingya community faced in the previous repatriations as:
- “A bilateral repatriation agreement between the Bangladeshi and Burmese governments was subsequently reached in July 1978, without any consultation with the refugees themselves as to whether they wished to return. Fierce resistance from the refugees was met by intimidation and the withdrawal of food rations from the camps in Bangladesh. Reports from the period estimate that up to 10,000 refugees died from malnutrition and illness by the end of 1978 (Anonymous 2010; Barnett 2000).”
- “Human Rights Watch contends in several cases the UNHCR has failed to provide information on the SLORC’s abuses against returning Muslim refugees. The HRW says that while the UN body had evidence that some Rohingya from Burma were arrested by Burmese authorities or ‘disappeared’ when they returned from Bangladesh in 1992 and 1996, it did not provide exiles in Bangladesh with that information (Inter Press Service, 04/30/97).”
- “Many Rohingya people jumped into the Naf River and took their lives because they were forcefully repatriated, and they preferred to end their lives was the better option than going back to Myanmar’s persecutions.”
In order to prevent repeating the same scenarios, ERC calls upon UNHCR and all other stakeholders to ensure the following conditions of the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation:
- The ongoing persecutions of Rohingya by Myanmar armed forces and extremist elements of Rakhine community must be brought immediately to an end.
- All IDPs inside Rakhine State must be shut down and the Rohingya who were living in IDPs must be allowed to return to their original homes.
- Ethnic and citizenship rights that Rohingya enjoyed in post-independent Myanmar must be restored.
- The lives and properties destroyed by Myanmar armed forces last year must be compensated and rebuilt.
- The perpetrators of the genocidal crimes and crimes against humanity against Rohingya must be brought to justice.
- The return and homeland must be under effective international protection until Myanmar is seriously committed to provide protection to Rohingya community.
For media, contact:
Dr. Hla Kyaw