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  • Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), interacts with a Rohingya woman during his visit to a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

    Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), interacts with a Rohingya woman during his visit to a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 July 2018
Opinion

So far, less than 200 Rohingyas have been resettled, with a vast majority of people refusing to return until their rights, citizenship, and safety are guaranteed.  

President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, who made a week-long visit to Northern Rakhine of Myanmar and Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, has expressed concerns over the state of Rohingya's repatriation, adding that "inclusive political solutions" is crucial to the process.

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"Conditions to return will require not only humanitarian and mitigating activities but also effective political steps towards ensuring freedom of movement; access to basic services; freedom to undertake economic activity and access to markets in Rakhine," he said. "Most importantly trust in security arrangements for returnees," he added. 

The news comes at a time when the United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres has said nearly 200,000 Rohingya need to be relocated due to monsoon rain threat.  

"The Rohingya are one of the most discriminated against and vulnerable communities on Earth," Guterres said in a tweet before his visit to the camps in southern Bangladesh. 

"In Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, I've just heard unimaginable accounts of killing and rape from Rohingya refugees who recently fled Myanmar. They want justice and a safe return home," Guterres wrote on Twitter, as he described the situation for the persecuted ethnic minority as "a humanitarian and human rights nightmare."   

So far, less than 200 Rohingyas have been resettled, with a vast majority of people refusing to return until their rights, citizenship, and safety are guaranteed.  

Thousands living in the make-shift camps in Cox's Bazar continue to live in horrific conditions lacking fundamental human rights. With the monsoon season arriving, their lives will only get worse. They cannot stay, and they cannot return, he said.  

Maurer said the villages in Rakhine state are destroyed and inhabitable. And in his visit to a village, he stated less than a quarter of the population remains there, with only 2,000 of the people left where nearly 9,000 villagers once lived.  

"I spoke with all communities - Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu. They described how the social fabric and local economy have been destroyed, making people entirely reliant on humanitarian aid," Maurer said. 

"Humanitarian assistance alone will not solve this problem. A better future for the people here will need inclusive political solutions, environmentally sustainable economic investment and a strong commitment to international humanitarian law and human rights," Maurer pointed out.  

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