Rohingya crisis: India reiterates commitment to support Bangladesh's efforts to repatriate refugees

Rohingya refugees wait for food aid at Thankhali refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Ukhia District. – AFP

"That's completely counterproductive", Nauert said while responding to a question on the agreement reached between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the repatriation of the Rohingyas.

"Major challenges have to be overcome", UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic told a Geneva news briefing.

Officials plan to start the repatriation process from January 23.

The talks did not take into account the fears and concerns of the refugees themselves.

"Where are considerations for protection of the Rohingya from Myanmar security forces who months ago were raping and killing them?"

Civil society groups and the media continued to face pressure from both state and non-state actors, while dozens of Bangladeshis were arrested for criticising the government or the political leadership on Facebook, it further says. According to him, the discussions ignored the deprivation of Rohingyas of their rights as they are held in indefinite detention.

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A group of refugees at the Kutupalong Rohingya camp near Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh expressed doubt about the camps Myanmar has agreed to establish on its side of the border.

At least eight ethnic Rakhine protestors were killed by police in Myanmar's volatile Rakhine State on Tuesday. "Across South Asia, members of religious minorities experience societal discrimination and violence which is exacerbated by laws and policies that punish speech, restrict religious conversions, or ban certain beliefs", she said, adding that protecting and promoting religious freedom is a priority of this Trump administration. We really wish to go back to our land.

"They don't even call us Rohingya".

Some young men in the camp anxious they might be arrested on accusations of terrorism if they returned to Myanmar. "They are given biometric registration cards", said Saidur Rahman, a brigadier general with the Bangladesh army who heads the Rohingya registration project.

"By not giving me access to Myanmar and by refusing to cooperate with the mandate, my task is made that much more hard, but I will continue to obtain first-hand accounts from victims and witnesses of human rights violations by all means possible, including by visiting neighbouring countries where some have fled", she said.

Starting in late August, Bangladesh saw over 655,000 Rohingya refugees cross the border from Northern Rakhine State in Myanmar fleeing a campaign of rape, arson, and killings by the Burmese military that amounted to crimes against humanity.

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