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Burma not prepared for the Rohingya refugees' returns - UN officials
"According to what I have seen and heared from the public - no entry to healthcare, concern for shelter, continuing displacement - the terms of returning are not conducive," said Ursula Müller, UN Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, after a six-day trip to Myanmar. The Myanmar administration spokesperson did not immediately react to the request for comments on Müller's statements.
Myanmar's authorities have previously committed themselves to do their best to ensure that the return is "fair, decent and safe" under an international treaty with Bangladesh concluded in November. So far Myanmar has examined several hundred Muslim Rohingya migrants for possible return. It would be "the first group" of migrants and could return to Myanmar "if it suits them," a Myanmar officer said last months.
In Myanmar, Mueller was given infrequent entry, was able to travel to the most affected areas of Rakhine state and had meetings with army-controlled defence and borders officers, de facto head Aung San Suu Kyi and other civil servants. Rohingya Muslims' exit followed a strike by the Northwest Rakhine state' s armed forces on 25 August.
The Rohingya escapees report murders, burns, lootings and rapes in reaction to military assaults on members of the policeforce. Burma says its armed services have conducted a legitimacy offensive against Islamic "terrorists". Bangladeshi civil servants have previously voiced doubt about Myanmar's readiness to take back Rohingya migrants. In January, Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement to conclude the return of migrants in two years' time.
Burma has established two shelter centres, and what is there is a makeshift warehouse near the Rakhine frontier to welcome the first arrive. "We are now at the frontier, willing to welcome them when the Bangladeshis take them on our side," Kyaw Tin, Myanmar's secretary of operations, said to journalists in January.
The Rohingya are regarded by many in the Buddhist minority of Myanmar as irregular Bangladeshi migrants. Myanmar's counter-offensive has been described by the UN as ethnical purge, which Myanmar is against. One part of the issue is that Myanmar has looted at least 55 communities that were drained during the violent events, according to Human Rights Watch in New York.
Burma's officers have said that the communities have been terrorised to make room for the reintroduction of refugees. She said she had also addressed the problem of restricted human rights workers' accessibility to the endangered populations of Myanmar and added, with reference to the relevant government bodies, that she would urge them "to grant access" to relief work.