Naypyidaw, Nov 13: Will Rohingya refugees, who have recently fled Myanmar to avoid violence and persecution, be ever allowed to go back home?
The question is haunting not only the Rohingyas but the global community at large. After various countries, including India, the United States (US) and China, supported the repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh, Myanmar continues to dilly dally the issue.
At least 622,000 Rohingyas have taken shelter in various refugee camps in Bangladesh since violence broke out in the Rakhine State of Myanmar on August 25. Faced with the daunting task of taking care of so many people with limited resources, Bangladesh has appealed to Myanmar to take back its "citizens".
In a recent meeting between officials of Bangladesh and Myanmar, the latter had agreed to take back at least 150-300 Rohingyas per day provided they have proper documents with them.
However, according to a report published by Kolkata-based Bengali newspaper, Anandabazar Patrika, now Myanmar has put forth four "strict" conditions for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.
"Those Rohingyas who can provide documented proof of long-term residence in Myanmar, want to return to Rakhine of their own will, can prove that they have relatives on the Myanmar side of the border and (in the case of children) can provide evidence their parents are permanent residents of Myanmar will be allowed to return," the Myanmar government wants the four conditions to be fulfilled for the repatriation of Rohingyas, as per the report of Anandabazar Patrika.
The newspaper has called these conditions "strict" which almost makes it difficult for the repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland.
The Myanmar government announced the conditions for refugee repatriation during an international conference on India-Myanmar relations in Yangon on Friday.
Several experts feel that the refugees who have left their country in a haste to save themselves from getting killed won't have cared to bring with them so many documents to Bangladesh.
Thus those staying in refugee camps in Bangladesh are unlikely to possess papers to fulfill conditions set by the Myanmar government which makes their return almost impossible.
When asked about why the rules framed by the Myanmar government for the return of Rohingyas "strict", Myanmar's ministry of foreign affairs secretary U Kyaw Zeya stated that "Of course it is mandatory to show some documents such as school registration, medical treatment at hospitals, work documents. Otherwise, it is difficult to take them."