Narinjara News

Leading Human Rights Forum calls for stopping the repatriation of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh

Dhaka, 20
th June 03Forum-Asia, a leading human rights organization has today called upon the UNHCR and the Government of Bangladesh to immediately stop the forced repatriation of about 21,000 Rohingya refugees who are sheltered in the southern part of Bangladesh into Burma.

Citing the deteriorating political and human rights situation resulting from the arrest on 30th May (and now imprisonment) of Aung San Suu Kyi by the military regime of Burma Forum-Asia demanded, “it will be irresponsible for the UNHCR to abandon the Rohingya refugees.”

The present forced repatriation plan has been taken up claiming financial constraints and donor fatigue, and with a proposal to shift responsibilities and assistance to the Bangladesh government unlike to the UNHCR.  Already 5,000 Rohingya refugees have been repatriated without their consent and without any monitoring, while 30 June 03 has been earmarked for the disengagement of the UN body from the entire process, the statement said.

In recent inquiries Narinjara has come to know that a census of what the ruling Burmese junta calls as the Bengali population in Sittwe Township, the capital of the western Rakhine State in Burma has been undertaken beginning 12th June.  The ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) junta has always termed the Rohingyas as Bengali infiltrators from a neighbouring country and denied any citizenship to them, imposing travel restrictions upon them even within the country.

Forced repatriation from the soil of Bangladesh and fresh “census of Bengalis” to check “future infiltration” may have some secret message of “international conspiracy against the Rohingyas of Burma”, said a businessman in Chittagong who carries out a significant trade with Burma

Many Burmese believe that unless a democratic, legitimate and stable government is in power there will be no end to the countless problems nagging the country including the refugee exodus to neighbouring countries including Bangladesh and Thailand.  Without a legitimate government the problem of the Rohingyas and other minority nationalities will never be solved, a Burmese political analyst in Dhaka said.  #



OBL Librarian’s note: the full report can be downloaded from the Forum-Asia site at