Myanmar agrees to return of Rohingya Muslims

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MYANMAR will allow the return of Rohingya Muslims to their homes, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman said on Monday.

President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes Cambodia State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi before the Opening Ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summits and Related Summits at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City on Monday, November 13, 2017. (KJ ROSALES/POOL)

“Asean expressed concern for the Rohingya people. Myanmar responded by saying that the repatriation of the IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) will begin in three weeks after Myanmar signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladesh,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in a press briefing at the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.

Violence against the Rohingyas erupted when militants killed at least 30 police troops in August.

Since then, around 500,000 Rohingyas fled Rakhine State to go to Bangladesh due to the military’s “clearing operations” that included burning their homes, committing rape and killing civilians.

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“The Kofi Annan report is being addressed, and humanitarian assistance [for the Rohingyas]is welcomed,” Roque said.

Roque was referring to a report released by the Rakhine Advisory Commission, led by former UN Chief Kofi Annan, which called on the Myanmar government to stop the violence in the Rakhine State.

Annan was appointed to the job by Nobel Peace Prize winner and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, who drew flak worldwide for her muted response to the violence being committed by Myanmar’s state forces against the Rohingyas.

The Annan report, however, did not identify the victims as Rohingya but as a Muslim community in Rakhine “which has become particularly vulnerable to human rights violations due to protracted statelessness and profound discrimination.”

There are at least one million Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and majority of them are living at the Rakhine state.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in September that the violence suffered by the Rohingyas under Myanmar’s state forces was a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

The Myanmar government does not grant citizenship to the Rohingyas.

 

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