Narinjara News

Burmese Refugees in Bangladesh go back home

Maungdaw, 22 February: 
A total of twenty five Burmese refugees from Bangladesh made their way back home on 5th February, according to our correspondent from Maungdaw.

The returnees are some of the last 20,000 Burmese Muslim refugees stranded in the squalid UNHCR camps in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh.  The group was led by ABM Amir Ullah from the UNHCR Bangaldesh Chapter.  On arrival at Kanyein-chaung refugees’ repatriation camp under Maungdaw Township on the Burmese side of the Naaf River, the refugees were received by the Burmese officials waiting there.

Two families consisting of eleven male and six female members were repatriated at Buthidaung Township while the other family consisting of two males and six females was repatriated at Maungdaw Township.

On 29th January another fourteen refugees of two families were taken back at the same refugee reception camp. 

The Burmese side has formally agreed to accept four thousand one hundred and forty-four refugees till the 5th of February from the list sent by the Bangladesh authority, according to sources in the Burmese Immigration Department.  He also said that there is a clear disparity between the number of refugees in the list prepared by the Bangladesh side and that of the Burmese side, agreeing to accept back.

At present the repatriation of the Burmese refugees are being done every Wednesday so that the fate of the remaining refugees still is hanging in the balance.  Previously the Burmese junta have again and again denied the refugees as their own citizens, said some of the returning refugees available here. 

Though the repatriation process is slow, officials in Bangladesh are hopeful about the Burmese junta leader’s promise of taking back the refugees when General Than Shwe paid a visit to Dhaka last December, according to Bangladesh press. 

These refugees are part of the 200,000 Burmese Muslim refugees who fled their homes in 1992 complaining of atrocities and discrimination practised by the Burmese junta.  They also demand themselves as Rohingyas while the Burmese junta is happy branding them as Bengalis, said a journalist in Cox’s Bazaar.  #