On Wednesday, 6th June, ’18, Myanmar signed a pact with the United Nations for the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh. The Myanmar government has ensured the UN that it will create conditions for their ‘voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable’ return to their homeland.
The pact constitutes the initial steps for the return of the nearly 7,00,000 destitute Rohingyas, presently living under insalubrious conditions, in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
WHO ARE THE ROHINGYAS?
Rohingya Muslims belong to the Northern Rakhine state in Myanmar. In October 2016, the Myanmar armed forces had unleashed a series of brutal attacks on the Rohingyas.
The persecution had compelled lakhs of them to fled their homes and take shelter in Bangladesh. While the persecution was in immediate response to attacks on certain Burmese border posts, the UN termed it ‘ethnic cleansing’.
RETURN TO MYANMAR:
Under pressure from the UN, the global community and several Human Rights organisations, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Myanmar government, the Office of the UNHRC and the UNDP in Yangon on Wednesday.
The Myanmar government had taken steps for the return of the Rohingyas before, but the refugees had refused to comply unless the process was guided by the UN.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, Mr. Knut Ostby said, the most essential conditions for their safe return would be “citizenship right” and “an end to violence “.
The MoU will give the UNHRC and the UNDP access to the Rakhine State, and allow them to assess the conditions there, so they can help the refugees make informed decisions on their voluntary return.
“ This is a first, and very important step, but it is now that the really important work starts”, said Knut Ostby.
The Rohingyas have been living under extremely inhuman conditions, and,
“ To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity” – Nelson Mandela.
Let us hope the Pact helps Humanity emerge alive from this stultifying span of darkness!