Overview of a Rohingya refugees camp after a huge fire in Ukhia, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh 06 March, 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/STR

Rohingyas in Bangladesh seek return to Myanmar on 6th anniversary of exodus

Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug 25 (EFE).- Thousands of Rohingyas living in camps in Bangladesh observed “Genocide Day” on Friday, the sixth anniversary of the start of a mass exodus to the country from Myanmar following a brutal military crackdown, and demanded their safe and dignified return to Myanmar.

Rohingyas defied rain to gather in different parts of the camps, holding banners and placards underlining their demands, which included justice for the atrocities committed on them by the Myanmar military in the country’s Rakhine State in 2017, and their desire to return home.

The largest gathering was held in Camp 1 East, at Lambasia, Ukhiya, in Cox’s Bazar, where Rohingya leaders described their ordeals in the Bangladesh’s refugee camps and expressed their desire to return Myanmar in a dignified way.

“Hope is home”, “no more refugee life”, “stop genocide”, “we want justice”, “we want repatriation”, “we want to go back home”, “enough is enough”, read some of the placards and banners carried by Rohingya youth and children to the demonstration.

Arafat Khan, a Rohingya youth told EFE that similar gatherings was held in Camp 9 and 15 also.

Around 936,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from neighboring Myanmar to Bangladesh, including 774,000 who survived a wave of violence and persecution by the Myanmar military in August 2017.

The crackdown has invited allegations of ethnic cleansing and genocidal intent against the Myanmar military.

Two attempts to start their repatriation to Myanmar failed as the Rohingyas refused to return without guarantees of citizenship and safety.

Bangladesh’s authorities said they were now working to send 1,176 Rohingyas back under a pilot project.

The project, reportedly backed by China, has remained stalled since May after a group of Rohingyas visiting Myanmar found the conditions unsuitable for return.

Myanmar initially offered to house Rohingyas in designated camps but the refugees said they would not return to the country until they were repatriated to their own villages.

Mizanur Rahman, the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner of Bangladesh, said Myanmar recently agreed to take some Rohingyas back to their place of origin under some conditions.

“We will now let Rohingyas know the conditions. A date to fix the start of repatriation can be fixed then,” he said. EFE