The repatriation of Rohingya Muslims back to Rakhine, Myanmar will be halted, two anonymous sources told Reuters Wednesday.
In October, Bangladesh and Myanmar made a bilateral plan to repatriate Rohingya refugees back to the country from which the persecuted community fled a genocidal army crackdown.
The United Nations Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet urged Bangladesh Tuesday to withdraw repatriation plans of other aid groups.
Reuters reported Sunday that some Rohingya, whose names were put on the list of refugees to be sent back to Myanmar, had fled from camps in Bangladesh.
“Most of the people on the list have fled to avoid being repatriated,” said Abdus Salam, a Rohingya leader at the Jamtoli camp in Cox’s Bazar.
The repatriation of the first batch of more than 2,000 refugees is supposed to start on Nov. 15.
“Some 48 families interviewed by the UNHCR have said no to repatriation,” one of the sources said.
Bangladesh has said it would not force anyone to return and has asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to verify whether those shortlisted are willing to go back.
But a source on condition of anonymity told Reuters, “It is not happening tomorrow as nobody wants to go back.”
The sources said that an official announcement was likely to come from Bangladesh's government confirming the news Thursday.
More than 700,000 Rohingya fled an army crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine in 2017. According to the refugees, soldiers and majority Buddhists massacred families, burned villages and carried out gang-rapes.
U.N-mandated investigators have accused the Myanmar army of “genocidal intent” and ethnic cleansing.