Burma-Bangladesh Announce Deal To 'Repatriate' Rohingya

The deal announced between Burma and Bangladesh that will see the repatriation of the Rohingya to Burma is deeply flawed.  The most obvious thing here is that without involving the UN in any shape, whether that's through agencies like IOM or UNHCR or paying heed to the UNGA or UNSC statements and Presidential Statement, Burma and Bangladesh have taken away the buffer that the international community can provide in terms of a safe repatriation.

The deal does not give scope for the Rohingya to return back as citizens - and that is a mistake that has already been repeated through history previously.  In 1978 and in 1992 hundreds and thousands of Rohingya returned to Burma only for a further wave of violence a generation later.  Now, again in 2017/18, without citizenship, the same applies; its sending a community back to endure almost guaranteed further abuse whether its termed as ethnic cleansing or genocide.

A further issue arises as to where the Rohingya will return.  Will they be allowed back to their own land? Or will they be forced into IDP camps? And what of the land that has been lost by the Rohingya refugees- what happens to that land?  Various Heads of States, most notably Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina called for 'a safe zone' - what of that now? By bypassing the international community and the UN, any such zone will almost certainly not be created.


For now, this deal looks more and more like a PR exercise for the Suu Kyi led Burma to show international critics that it is addressing the issue. Its a disappointing line from Bangladesh who has said publicly over the past few weeks that it will only agree a deal through the international community and has been working hard to lobby international partners. For Burma to describe the situation as a 'win-win' (see images above) for both Bangladesh and itself is a rhetoric of a country that shows no remorse nor compassion for the Rohingya.

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