Bangladesh: Rohingya refugees returns must be 'safe, voluntary and dignified'

Amnesty International has again called on the government of Bangladesh to uphold its commitment that Rohingya refugees are only returned to Myanmar in conditions that are safe, voluntary and dignified.

In a meeting today (5 March) with Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, Amnesty’s Secretary General Salil Shetty acknowledged the generosity that the country had shown nearly one million Rohingya refugees who were forced out of their homes in Rakhine State following extensive crimes against humanity committed by the Myanmar military.

Salil Shetty said:

“At a time when many states have callously turned their backs on people fleeing persecution, Bangladesh has shown enormous generosity by opening its doors to nearly 700,000 refugees.

“This act of generosity has earned the country tremendous goodwill, and we hope that Bangladesh will stand by its commitment to support Rohingya refugees until it is possible for them to return in safe, voluntary and dignified conditions.”

Salil Shetty also reaffirmed Amnesty’s position that the Myanmar military must be held accountable for the crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya.

After visiting refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh, Amnesty urged the Bangladeshi government to enhance its efforts ahead of the looming monsoon season, when refugees will be at risk of mudslides and other hazards associated with heavy rains.

Rohingya children, who have been denied opportunities to continue their education ever since they began arriving in Cox’s Bazar in August last year, also require major attention.

Salil Shetty added:

“Bangladesh cannot be left to deal with this crisis alone. The international community must continue to support the country to host Rohingya refugees for as long as is required.

“At the same time, world leaders must also press for accountability for the horrific crimes that were committed against the Rohingya, so that they may get the justice they deserve and the security that they need.”

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