Rohingya crisis: Solution must be found in Myanmar, says Bangladesh

Violet Powell
October 7, 2017

Observers believe that as many as 100,000 more people may be waiting to cross to the southeast Bangladeshi port of Cox's Bazar from Myanmar's Rakhine state, the International Organisation for Migration said, citing staff members monitoring the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

He added however that the country had in the past granted shelter to refugees, including those from Vietnam, who were allowed to stay on Pulau Bidong off the coast of Terengganu in the 1970s and 1980s.

"The Rohingya people must be able to return voluntarily with safety and dignity".

Myanmar troops launched a crackdown in the Rakhine state in response to attacks on three border posts in 2016 that killed nine police officers, since then many Rohingya Muslims have tried to move into Bangladesh illegally.

The influx has also put Bangladesh under enormous strain, with the South Asian country already hosting at least 300,000 Rohingya refugees in squalid camps along its border with Myanmar before the latest surge in arrivals.

Myanmar has closed most access to the area, but a couple of agencies have offices open there and the International Committee of the Red Cross is helping the Myanmar Red Cross to deliver aid. "The two sides have agreed to a proposal to set up a joint working group to coordinate the repatriation process".

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This block is recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but is merely part of voluntary guidelines. In that time, driving at only 25 miles an hour, a vehicle travels the length of about four football fields.

"This flow out of Myanmar has not stopped yet, it's into the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya (who are) still in Myanmar, we want to be ready in case there is a further exodus", said the UN's under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Mark Lowcock, in a Friday press briefing in Geneva.

The United Nations has condemned current difficulties in providing humanitarian aid to Rohingya muslims.

An EU delegation also joined the UN's whistle-stop trip to Rakhine, which took in Maungdaw and Rathedaung areas, explaining in a statement "this was not an investigation mission and could not be in the circumstances".

The Myanmar government has taken groups of reporters to the region in recent weeks and has denied charges of systematic abuses against the Rohingya.

"The Rohingya fled to Bangladesh without any legal documents and it is hard to prove their identity", he told AFP. They all look forward to go back.

"If they accept us as Rohingya, and said they would not harm us, we would return", he told AFP at a refugee registration booth.

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