Earlier this month, Bangladesh and Myanmar attempted to repatriate thousands of Rohingya refugees currently residing in Bangladesh as part of a deal they had signed last November, but were eventually forced to postpone their plans amid intense international pressure.
More than 720,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar as result of a brutal military crackdown in August last year, taking shelter in crowded camps in Bangladesh and bringing with them harrowing tales of rape, murder and arson. Earlier this year, the United Nations’ Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar classified the atrocities perpetrated by the country’s military as “genocide”.
Marzuki Darusman, chair of the UN fact-finding mission, also said the estimated 250,000 to 400,000 Rohingya who remained in the Buddhist-majority country following last year’s crackdown “continue to suffer the most severe” restrictions and repression. “It is an ongoing genocide that is taking place,” he said.
Myanmar, on the other hand, rejected the UN report, claiming the investigation was “flawed, biased and politically motivated”. Myanmar authorities consistently deny any atrocity ever against Myanmar’s Rohingya population, saying the country’s security forces only attack “armed rebels”.