Myanmar says Rohingya will be able to return from Bangladesh


Myanmar’s national security adviser Thaung Tun has said that Rohingya Muslims who had fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape violence in Rakhine State would be able to return but the process would have to be discussed.

“We will make sure that everybody who left their home can return to their home but this is a process we have to discuss,” he said after a ministerial meeting on the crisis hosted by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

“We want to make sure that everybody who needs humanitarian assistance gets it, without discrimination. That is one of the things we agreed on,” Mr Tun said.

It comes as the Indian government has told the country’s top court that some of the Rohingya who have fled Myanmar are a serious security threat, as it sought to justify moves to deport up to 40,000 of the community from India.

Mukesh Mittal, a senior home ministry official, said the Indian Supreme Court must allow the government to take a decision in the wider interests of the country, as he says some of the Rohingya have an extremist record.

“Some of the Rohingya with militant background are also found to be very active in Jammu, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mewat and have been identified as having a very serious and potential threat to the national security of India,” he said in a written statement to the court.

The statement also highlighted the “serious potential” for an “eruption of violence against the Buddhists who are Indian citizens who stay on Indian soil”.

The Rohingya have denied any link with Islamic extremist groups.

The statement came in response to a petition filed at the Supreme Court challenging the government’s decision to deport the Rohingya, many of whom have been in India for the past decade.

The United Nations says there are 16,000 registered Rohingya in India, but many more are undocumented. The government puts the figure at around 40,000.

Around 7,000 of them live in shanties in India’s Jammu region in the Himalayas. They say they have faced hostility from the majority Hindu community there.

Rights groups have urged India to abide by its international obligations after the government said last month it had asked state authorities to identify and deport the Rohingya living in their territory.

While Bangladesh has been the main destination for Rohingya over the years, some have ended up in India and Nepal.

Meanwhile, wild elephants have trampled to death two Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh, when they rampaged through a settlement where the refugees were taking shelter after fleeing a military offensive in neighbouring Myanmar.

More than 410,000 refugees from Myanmar have poured into Bangladesh since 25 August when attacks by Rohingya militants on security posts triggered a Myanmar army operation that the United Nations has described as ethnic cleansing.

“There are elephants in the forest, close to the place where many Rohingya refugees are clearing forest to make huts, police official Chailau Murma said.

He said an elderly person and a toddler were killed when the elephants rampaged through the area.

Three other people were taken to hospital to be treated for injuries, a refugee camp leader said.

Police said the elephants later disappeared back into the forest.

The refugees are facing dire conditions with insufficient food, water, medical care and shelter, and regular drenching from monsoon rains that have turned roads into quagmires.

Bangladeshi authorities say they aim to move everyone out of so-called spontaneous sites, usually beside roads where people try to make shelters wherever they are, into one big camp where aid supplies can be properly distributed.


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