Bangladesh, Myanmar officials visit Rohingya trapped at border


Most Burmese consider the Rohingya as unwanted immigrants from Bangladesh, and the army refers to them as "Bengalis".

Khan said he presented the list to Myanmar Home Minister Lt. Gen. Kyaw Swe, who is visiting Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, to discuss the repatriations and other border issues.

"It seems Myanmar has not done enough to secure Rakhine State, which is the first priority before refugees can be sent back".

They said: "The Rohingyas of no man's land feel threatened and concerned that putting their names in the repatriation list will put them at risk again".

Bangladesh Relief and Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam said they went to the site to "encourage the refugees" to go back voluntarily.

After a Myanmar army crackdown in Rakhine started in August 25 past year, over 6,500 Rohingya people from Tambru, Medipara, Raimongkhali, Deybuinna, Laipuiya, Ponduiya, Khuyangcipong villages and Maungdaw's Panirchora had moved to that no man's land and have been living there, a place that is adjacent to Naikhongchhari's Ghumdum border in Bandarban.

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The minister warned the Rohingya refugees, who live in makeshift settlements, that they will face "consequences" if they do not take up a Myanmar offer to return.

She has directed the foreign ministry to hold dialogue particularly with five countries including India which have borders with Myanmar, seeking their initiative to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

The protesters demanded deployment of United Nations peacekeeping force in Rakhine's Rohingya majority areas and recognition of the Rohingyas as citizens of Myanmar.

Myanmar's Home Affairs Ministry urged Bangladesh to investigate and provide information about a list of suspected members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the Rohingya militant group.

The government's Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission said almost 700,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh till February 11 fleeing the brutal persecution termed as "ethnic cleansing" by the UN.

The recent violence erupted after an underground insurgent group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, attacked security outposts in Rakhine in late-August previous year.

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Most of those now live in camps across the border in Bangladesh, but the country's government has made clear it does not want them to stay and has agreed to start sending them home.

Myanmar's security forces have been accused of atrocities against the Muslim minority in northern Rakhine, including killing, rape and arson.

Almost 700,000 fled after last year's crackdown, which the United Nations has said amounted to ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar regards the Rohingya as migrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship, even though they have been there for generations.

A leader of the Rohingya group in the buffer zone, Dil Mohammed, told Reuters in a text message: "Our no-man's land camp demands are that there must be a safe return, we need security and all basic rights, including citizenship". United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi told the Security Council last week that conditions are not right for Rohingya to voluntarily return because Myanmar has not addressed the issue of denial of rights.

Since that visit, the Myanmar army and Border Guard Police, using loudspeakers, have asked the Rohingyas to return to Rakhine from the no man's land.

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