Humanitarian and civil society agencies working in Rakhine State in Myanmar and in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh are deeply concerned that the repatriation of refugees will commence in mid-November, according to an announcement of the Joint Working Group of the Governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar on 30th October.
The Governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh have made assurances to the refugees and the international community that repatriation will only happen when it is safe, voluntary and dignified. We call on both governments to stand by their commitments.
As international NGOs operating in Rakhine State, Myanmar, we are concerned about the announcement made last week by the Governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar to commence returns of refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar within two months. We commend the commitment of the Governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh to facilitate this process in line with international standards and we uphold the fundamental right of refugees to voluntarily return to their place of origin. However, we urge that the rights, safety and protection of returnees must be guaranteed before any returns process commences.
As international NGOs working in Myanmar, we strongly condemn the attacks carried out on 25 August and subsequent violence across northern Rakhine State. We express our heartfelt sympathies for those who have lost loved ones and all those affected by the violence, and we urge all parties to exercise restraint and prevent the further escalation of conflict.
Thousands of people affected by violence in northern Rakhine require humanitarian support – INGOs stand ready to help all communities
Humanitarian organisations in Myanmar are gravely concerned about the crisis in northern Rakhine and call for access to all affected people in order to provide urgent life-saving support to people displaced or caught up in the conflict.