Bangladesh and UN agree on voluntary return for Rohingya refugees

Bangladesh and UN agree on voluntary return for Rohingya refugees

[JURIST] The foreign secretary of Bangladesh and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) [official website] signed [press release] a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday to cement their agreement that Rohingya refugees should be able to voluntarily return to Myanmar when the country’s conditions improve.

About 870,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh, with about 670,000 of those refugees arriving since last August.

Refugees said that before choosing to return to Myanmar, “they would need to see concrete progress in relation to their legal status and citizenship, security, and their ability to enjoy basic rights at home in Rakhine State.”

UNHCR is currently discussing an agreement with Myanmar. The goals for UNHCR is for the agreement “to set forth a framework for refugees’ voluntary repatriation in line with international standards, aim to create conditions that are conducive to eventual voluntary repatriation, and provide humanitarian and development assistance for all people of Rakhine State.”

The treatment of the Rohingya community has caused concern throughout the international community. Earlier this week an ICC prosecutor requested [JURIST report] a ruling on jurisdiction over Rohingya deportations. In March a UN official said [JURIST report] that she was convinced the Myanmar government’s treatment of the Rohingya community constituted genocide. In February, Human Rights Watch reported [JURIST report] on the Myanmar government bulldozing Rohingya villages.