A second attempt to repatriate hundreds of Rohingya Muslims from camps in Bangladesh camps failed after the refugees refused to return “unconditionally” to Myanmar. Bangladesh and Myanmar had agreed to repatriate 3,540 Rohingya from three camps in Cox’s Bazar district starting on Aug. 22.
The refugees were picked from a list of containing 22,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh that was handed to a Myanmar delegation last month.
The Rohingya have lived in Myanmar’s Rakhine State for generations, but many Buddhists consider them “recent illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh.
In various phases since the 1970s, Rohingya have trickled into Bangladesh to escape persecution by successive military governments and elements from Rakhine Buddhist communities.
The 2016 and 2017 military atrocities, described as “ethnic cleansing” by the United Nations, in response to Rohingya militant attacks on security forces, triggered a mass exodus.
Bangladesh, Myanmar and the UNHCR signed a repatriation deal in early 2018, but to date not a single person has been repatriated.