Joint Statement of the Rohingya Organisations on MOU signed by UNHCR, UNDP and MYANMAR Government
June 10, 2018
We the undersigned Rohingya organisations worldwide note the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by UNHCR, UNDP, and the Myanmar government to support the creation of conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to their homes in Arakan/Rakhine State.
However, we are deeply concerned that (i) the MOU did not address the root causes of the Rohingya crisis, particularly the issue of Rohingya citizenship and ethnic identity, (ii) refugee representative has not been involved although the Rohingya have the right to know about the agreement relating to the process of repatriation, rehabilitation, reintegration and rebuilding of their bulldozed homes and their future, (iii) the texts of the MOU have not been made public leaving the international community in dark that calls into question.
This is not the first repatriation agreement Myanmar has signed. All previous records showed that the UN agencies, including UNHCR as the agent of the interest of the international community, could not provide adequate protection to the Rohingya returnees due to obstinacy of the Myanmar government. We are intrinsically aware of the false promises of the Myanmar authorities who are characterized by cheating and brutality.
Repatriation is a life and death question for the whole Rohingya people. The refugees require full international protection and guarantee of their safety, dignity, and full citizenship and all accompanying rights enabling them to live in Arakan/Rakhine State as equals, with their recognized ethnic identity, as an indigenous people.
We reiterate that Myanmar is the most brutal regime in the world that is engaged in genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Despite being homesick the refugees are unwilling to return, as there is no change of attitude of the Myanmar authorities towards Rohingya people. The conditions for well-founded fear of persecution continue to exist for those who still remain in Rakhine State, where they are forced to live in confined villages, ghettos and concentration camps, away from their homes, virtually with no rights of man, no education, ability to work and to survive, not to mention those who might seek to return. They could not trust the Myanmar government and military that have killed, raped, and starved them with hundreds of their villages razed, their land taken and homesteads bulldozed.
In order for safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation, rehabilitation, reintegration and rebuilding of their bulldozed homes, Rohingya need international protection by state and regional actors, as well as UN peace-keeping forces for their “protected return to their protected homeland” in Northern Rakhine State.
Last but not least, there must be accountability and perpetrators of crimes must be brought to justice and referred to International Criminal Court (ICC).
Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK)
British Rohingya Community in UK
Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark
Burmese Rohingya Association Japan (BRAJ)
Rohingya Advocacy Network in Japan
Arakan Rohingya Development Association – Australia (ARDA)
Burmese Rohingya Community Australia (BRCA)
Burmese Rohingya Association in Queensland-Australia (BRAQA)
Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organisation
Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
European Rohingya Council (ERC)
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation in Malaysia (MERHROM)