Burma SafetyMyanmar Security
Security and identity key for Rohingya returnees: Myanmar UN chief
Rangoon - Security and "identity" must be guaranteed for the Muslim Rohingya returnees returning to Myanmar, the country's UN chief said on Wednesday when Myanmar and UN organizations concluded a framework agreement on returnees. A declaration of intent concluded between the United Nations UNDP and UNHCR marked a global upsurge in relations, which reached a low point last year after the administration proposed that some organisations should provide Rohingya fighters with gras.
United Nations chief Knut Ostby said he hopes UN personnel could leave "almost immediately" to the violently devastated northern state of Rakhine to evaluate the situa-tion and help Bangladeshi returnees make an educated choice about a possible return over the years.
Approximately 700,000 Rohingya have escaped Myanmar's army's crackdowns since August, with many reports of large-scale murders, rapes and fires. United Nations named the initiative a book example of "ethnic cleansing" - an indictment denied by Myanmar. United Nations agents have been saying for month that Myanmar's terms and condition are "not conducive" to a secure, volunteer and worthy return, and consider Wednesday's agreement as a first steps towards these goals.
"Two really important things need to be there - firstly, an identities for the citizens returning to be able to exist as ordinary members of the community, both in the sense of their identities and in the sense of free movement," Ostby Reuters said over the telephone.
"The other problem is that they must be able to stay safe. You should not have to take any further risks of violence," said Ostby, a UN president and human rights co-ordinator in Myanmar. In Buddhist Myanmar, Rohingya are widely referred to as "Bengali" - a pejorative word for Bangladeshi migrants.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's Nobel laureate's administration has urged the Rohingya to agree to national verification cards - papers that are part of the government's efforts to record Rohingya but which do not offer them nationality. The Rohingya church leader has widely refused the map, saying that it will treat lifelong inhabitants like new migrants.
In January, Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement to conclude the return of migrants within two years. In a post-signature declaration, the Myanmar administration said it hopes that the UN-led return procedure will be "accelerated".