Commenting on reports today that the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar will begin in mid-November, Oxfam’s head of regional advocacy for the Rohingya crisis, Rachael Reilly said from Yangon, Myanmar:
“It is deeply concerning that Rohingya people may be sent back to Myanmar to face the same persecution they fled.
“Refugees in Cox’s Bazar are telling us they want to go home but are frightened that it is too dangerous – they want to see justice served and an end to the violence and discrimination that have caused this crisis.
“The Government of Bangladesh has made clear its commitment to refugees only going home voluntarily when conditions are safe. The international community needs to step up diplomatic pressure on Myanmar to grant equal rights to the Rohingya, while continuing to support Bangladesh to assist all those in need.”
Notes to editors
Oxfam urges that any return of refugees must be in line with international standards and monitored by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. UNHCR is saying that conditions in Myanmar are not conducive for return and any decisions about return must be made by the refugees themselves when they feel the time and circumstances are right.
Oxfam is urging the Government of Myanmar to allow humanitarian aid to reach those in need and grant equal rights to Rohingya people – including citizenship and lifting movement restrictions that prevent people from seeing a doctor or finding work.
Oxfam is supporting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and providing life-saving aid to more than 150,000 people affected by conflict and natural disaster across Myanmar.