Rohingya Refugees Terrified of Being Forced Back to Myanmar

Rohingya refugees flee camps to avoid repatriation

Neither Suu Kyi nor her office have commented publicly about the decision by Amnesty International.

It is unusual for leaders in the 10-nation group to publicly criticize each other.

Muslim-majority nations Malaysia and Indonesia are believed to be behind the strong ASEAN statement.

Suu Kyi is the head of Myanmar's civilian government and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who suffered for years as a democratic activist and political prisoner under house arrest when Myanmar was ruled by a military junta.

The two discussed the current situation on the ground in Rakhine, and the need for security and development. On Monday, she was stripped of Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience award for the "shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for".

Aung San Suu Kyi's responded to the harsh rebuke by saying that people must "learn to understand each other better". "I'm sure you will say the same of yours, that you understand your own country better than anybody else".

"We are in a better position to explain to you what is happening, how we see things panning out", she added. Myanmar officials said recently that they would receive 150 refugees each day. In September, Aung San Suu Kyi defended their arrests, saying they had broken the law and their case has "nothing to do with freedom of expression at all".

The first stage of a long-delayed and deeply controversial plan to repatriate Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar is due to start on Thursday - despite widespread opposition from rights groups to any forced return.

The plans to send Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar gathered momentum, with reports of Bangladesh armed forces gathering in the Cox's Bazar camps and allegations that refugees were assaulted by the authorities for refusing to cooperate, according to a report in the Guardian.

On Wednesday, officials of Bangladesh's Refugee Repatriation and Relief Commission met representatives of different global agencies and the government, but no-one was willing to disclose the outcome of the discussions.

The first phase of the Rohingya's return to Myanmar will begin on Thursday, according to an agreement signed between the two countries on November 23, 2017.

United Nations officials and worldwide organizations have said such a return is unsafe due to ongoing violence and conditions that continue to force refugees to flee the country.

"Any Rohingya refugee who genuinely wishes to return to Myanmar has the right to do so, and UNHCR are playing an important role in establishing this", said Nicholas Bequelin.

The two countries had originally agreed to begin repatriating Rohingya to Rakhine State last January, but that was called off amid concerns among aid workers and the Rohingya that their safety wasn't guaranteed.

Refugees have the right to return home if they wish, but all returns must be fully voluntary and safe with full respect for their human rights, including their right to security as well as worldwide monitoring to protect them from further persecution.

In August, the United Nations released a report detailing the military crackdown with genocidal intent, which has the huge numbers of Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh.



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