With Rohingya fear back, Myanmar transit camps turn empty
Sayeed Muhammad: Despite the transit camp in Myanmar’s Rakhine state standing ready to welcome back 150 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh per day, on most days it lies completely empty.
This is just because members of the stateless minority dread returning to a place they were violently driven from by the military, and Myanmar makes little effort to ensure security to them, reports AFP.
The result is a stand-off while Myanmar immigration officials wait in empty offices shuffling papers and arranging biometric equipment. They have little to no work to do except greet visiting delegations and journalists.
Some 200 Rohingya Muslims have been resettled in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state from the 700,000 who fled a violent army crackdown in August, to Bangladesh.
Even the limited number of the returnees has all done so under murky circumstances.
In April, Myanmar trumpeted the arrival of a Rohingya family of five, but it was later slammed as a PR stunt as it emerged they had come from a buffer area between the two countries that is technically part of Myanmar.
Local authorities created a billboard with several large photos of the family near the border, heralding the “photo records of steps of repatriation”.