Bangladesh rejects Myanmar's claim of repatriation

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It only shows Myanmar's disregard for its repatriation agreement with Bangladesh and for the global condemnation of its acts. Since the family never entered Bangladesh territory, this is not repatriation.

In a statement on Saturday, Myanmar said it had repatriated the first Rohingya family from refugees who have fled to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh today rejected as "farce" a claim by Myanmar that it has repatriated first five Rohingya Muslim refugees among around 700,000 who fled the Buddhist-majority country after a brutal crackdown by the military.

"I hope Myanmar will take all the Rohingya families back within the shortest possible time", he said.

The statement said authorities determined whether they had lived in Myanmar and provided them with a national verification card.

Myanmars Social Welfare Minister Win Myat Aye, who is overseeing the repatriation process, had said in a statement that as they (Rohingyas) were repatriated, Myanmar officials, including from immigration, had verified them and gave them the paperwork they needed. ��.

The post did not mention plans for further returnees expected in the near future.

The website also said the family in question were actually relatives of an administrator at a designated entry point for returning refugees.

Myanmar's claim of the first repatriation comes just days after the UNHCR said conditions in Myanmar were not conducive for a return of refugees. "No repatriation has taken place. Bangladesh is no way part of it".

Rohingya who have been repatriated in the past after previous refugee exoduses have been forced to live in camps in Myanmar. Several thousand Rohingya have been living in the zone since August, crammed into a cluster of tents beyond a barbed-wire fence which roughly demarcates the border zone between the two countries. An official of an global human rights organisation has termed it a "public relations exercise in an attempt to deflect attention for accountability for crimes committed in the Rakhine State".

The United Nations and the USA have described the army crackdown as "ethnic cleansing".

Bangladesh and Myanmar vowed to begin repatriation in January but the plan has been repeatedly delayed as both sides blame the other for a lack of preparation.

Rohingya Muslims have always been treated as outsiders in Myanmar, even though their families have lived in the country for generations. More than 8,000 refugees are waiting for repatriations according to a list compiled by Bangladesh.

Myanmar has denied almost all allegations, saying it waged a legitimate counter-insurgency operation. The card is a form of ID, but does not mean citizenship - something Rohingya have been denied in Myanmar, where they've faced persecution for decades.

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