Rohingya Muslims’ repatriation to Myanmar postponed


The gradual repatriation of more than 650,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees to Myanmar from Bangladesh has been postponed amid widespread fears that refugees would be forced to return against their will, a Bangladeshi official has said. “The main thing is that the process has to be voluntary,” said Abul Kalam, the refugee and repatriation commissioner. He added that paperwork for returning refugees had not yet been finalised and transit camps had yet to be built in Bangladesh.Myanmar had announced that the repatriation process would begin on Tuesday, two months after the signing of the first agreement on returns, on 23 November. Bangladeshi officials, however, have appeared reluctant to confirm a start date.

On Sunday, AH Mahmood Ali, Bangladesh’s foreign minister, told a press conference he could not could not give a specific day. “The process is ongoing,” he said. “You will see when it begins.” It was not immediately clear whether a new commencement date would be set.(theguardian)…[+]