Bangladesh's Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission's (RRRC) chief, Md Abul Kalam has expressed concerns regarding the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar saying that no one wanted to return and that they would not be forced to go, as reported by Hans India.
The statement casts doubts over the recent move in which a joint working committee of Bangladesh and Myanmar had agreed for repatriation of first batch of 2,000 Rohingya refugees in mid-November.
"According to the UNHCR voluntariness assessment, none of the 50 families interviewed expressed their willingness to go back under the present circumstances. None feels safe to go back now," Kalam said, adding, "We cannot force them to go back against their will".
In response to repatriation process, Rohingya staged mass protests declining to go back to Myanmar.
Mohammad Idris, a Rohingya community leader was quoted by The Guardian as saying that all 50 families listed for return had “disappeared from their shacks three or four days ago and the officials have failed to trace them”
The UN refugee agency has publicly cautioned against the repatriation of refugees and stated would offer humanitarian assistance to any who ended up returning.
UNHRC in a confidential document dating back to 2018 stated that aid would be provided only if the Rohingyas would be allowed back to their own village or to locations chosen by them.
Amnesty International has also criticised the move saying it could put their lives in danger and Human Rights Watch (HRW) asked Bangladesh to "immediately halt" the planned repatriation.
"The Bangladesh government will be stunned to see how quickly international opinion turns against it if it starts sending unwilling Rohingya refugees back into harm's way in Myanmar," said Bill Frelick, HRW refugee rights director.
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