TIL Desk/World/Dhaka/ Bangladesh today rejected a claim by Myanmar that the Buddhist-majority nation had repatriated the first five among some 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled to the neighbouring country to escape military-led violence against the minority group.
A Myanmar government statement said on Saturday that five members of a family had returned to western Rakhine state from the border area. It said the family was staying temporarily with relatives in Maungdaw town, the administrative centre close to the border.
The statement said authorities determined whether they had lived in Myanmar and provided them with a national verification card. The card is a form of ID, but does not mean citizenship – something Rohingya have been denied in Myanmar, where they’ve faced persecution for decades.
The statement did not say whether any more repatriations were being planned. Bangladesh has given Myanmar a list of more than 8,000 refugees to begin the repatriations, but there have been delays due to a complicated verification process.
Bangladesh’s Home Minister, Asaduzzaman Khan, today said Myanmar’s claim that the family had been “repatriated” was false, noting that the family had never reached Bangladeshi territory. Khan said Myanmar’s move was “nothing but a farce.” “I hope Myanmar will take all the Rohingya families back within the shortest possible time,” he said.