The military's presence at vast Rohingya camps in Bangladesh has been bolstered, stoking fears among refugees as authorities prepare to return them to Myanmar despite strong UN objections, leaders of the Muslim minority said Wednesday.
Dozens of persecuted Rohingya Muslim families on a list of refugees set to be repatriated to Myanmar later this week have fled from camps in southeast Bangladesh for fear of facing more torment at home.
The United Nations refugee agency on Monday cautioned against returning ethnic Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar from Bangladesh at this time, urging that officials be allowed to assess whether it is safe for them to return.
Rohingya refugee attempted suicide this week after being told he was on a repatriation list to Burma, highlighting deep-seated fears among the Muslim minority about being forced out of their current refuge in Bangladesh.
The customary cordiality of Southeast Asian summits may be missing when the region’s leaders meet next week due to sharp differences over Myanmar, whose military has been accused of genocide against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.
Facebook has admitted that its social media platform did not do enough to prevent incitement of violence and hate speech in Myanmar amid ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims in the Southeast Asian country.
United Nations officials have blasted a repatriation deal struck between the governments in Bangladesh and Myanmar over the return of Rohingya Muslim refugees, saying that conditions in the northwestern state of Rakhine are “not yet conducive” for their returns.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has expressed deep concern over the fate of seven Rohingya Muslim men deported from India to Myanmar despite warnings they could face persecution in their country of origin.
The International Criminal Court has opened a preliminary probe into Myanmar military's crimes, including killings, sexual violence and forced deportations, against members of the Rohingya Muslim minority group in the Southeast Asian nation.
The United Nations has begun assessment of conditions in Myanmar's Rakhine state after it was finally given permission to operate there for the first time since violence escalated last year and forced more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
A Myanmar judge on Monday found two Reuters journalists guilty of breaching a law on state secrets and jailed them for seven years, in a landmark case seen as a test of progress toward democracy in the Southeast Asian country.