It’s been two years since a military crackdown forced more than 700,000 Rohingyas to flee Myanmar. The refugees still live in camps across the border in Bangladesh.
As CGTN’s Toby Muse reports few are willing to go back.
The third attempt to begin a planned repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh back to Myanmar failed when the civilians said they felt safer in their refugee camp than they did returning home.
The refugees told stories of gang rapes, mass murder and brutal repression at the hands of Myanmar soldiers. The Rohingya Muslims demand that they be given citizenship in Myanmar, promises of safety, and legal rights to the land they left behind when they fled.
The Buddhist-majority Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as citizens, making them effectively stateless.
The U.N. refugee agency said a number of refugees interviewed were willing to return only if the conditions are met. Meantime, the Bangladesh government said they would not force the refugees to leave and that repatriation is only possible if the Rohingya are willing to return.
The Myanmar military launched a counterinsurgency campaign in 2017 after a series of attacks by Rohingya militants that killed dozens. The United Nations called the campaign “ethnic cleansing,” something Myanmar denies.
The United Nations is demanding that military officers involved in any human rights abuses be tried in the judicial system as a beginning of reconciliation.
But it concedes that is unlikely to happen for the time being.