DHAKA: Myanmar’s embassy has stated that around 400 Rohingya refugees have returned to its country from Bangladesh.
Myanmar’s embassy posted photos that purported to show 46 more voluntary returnees that were being received in the country, taking the total number going back to 397 in an indefinite timeframe.
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There was no direct comment on the embassy statement from the Bangladeshi refugee commissioner. But in a statement earlier issued, Dhaka’s foreign ministry said that the return of a handful of refugees did not testify to any improvement of the ground reality in Rakhine.
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Rohingya leaders have refused to return without guaranteed security and citizenship. Since then, however, Bangladesh has imposed an internet blackout on the vast, squalid camps in the country’s south-east that house the refugees, and has announced plans to surround them with barbed-wire fences.
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Bangladesh has been home to nearly a million Rohingya including 740,000 who fled a military crackdown in Rakhine state in August 2017 that the UN has called ethnic cleansing.
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According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, some 128,000 people who fled the violence back then are still living in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) around the state.