Sunday, 20 May, 2018

Burma leader says probe of mass grave 'positive'

Burma leader says probe of mass grave 'positive' Burma leader says probe of mass grave 'positive'
Anna Jefferson | 17 January, 2018, 05:04

Myanmar officials say a camp to house Rohingya Muslim and Hindu refugees who return from Bangladesh will be ready by its promised deadline next week.

Many refugees start at transit centres set up along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border before they are brought to the main refugee camps in Cox's Bazar.

He said the repatriation process would cost "millions of dollars" but funding details had not yet been agreed and were not expected to be discussed at today's meeting.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono expressed serious concern to his Myanmar counterpart Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday over the plight of Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence by the military in northern Rakhine state.

While many Rohingya say they want to go back to Myanmar, most of the more than a dozen who spoke to Reuters said they were scared to do so now.

More than 650,000 ethnic Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August, when Myanmar's military launched a brutal crackdown in Rakhine state after a militant group attacked police posts.

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The UN described the offensive as ethnic cleansing and Myanmar claimed that its troops did not target civilians.

The government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar does not acknowledge Royingya as a minority group even though they have lived in the country for generations. They are generally called "Bengalis", a reference to the belief that they migrated illegally from Bangladesh. "Bangladesh authorities also need to proceed with the paperwork and documents for refugees and send it to us fast".

Burma's unofficial leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called the military's investigation into the deaths of Rohingya Muslims found in a mass grave a "positive indication", state media reported Saturday.

Last April, the Rakhine state government agreed to close down three internally displaced persons camps housing Kaman Muslims, ethnic Rakhine people, and Rohingya Muslims in the towns of Ramree, Kyaukphyu, and Sittwe, per the Annan commission's recommendations.

"The first repatriation is important - we can learn from the experiences, good or bad", he said.

The worldwide community and rights groups have stressed that the Myanmar government must guarantee the "safe and voluntary" return of the refugees, and urged that global organizations be allowed to participate.

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