Bangladesh Halts Plan to Return Refugees to Myanmar
The head of Bangladesh's refugee commission announced on Thursday that plans to start sending Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar has been cancelled.
An estimated 700,000 Rohingya are living in refugee camps in Bangladesh. But they are unwilling to return to Myanmar, officials said.
Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam told the Associated Press that officials "can't force them to go." But he said officials will continue to try to persuade the refugees to leave.
The announcement came after about 1,000 Rohingya demonstrated against returning to Myanmar.
Another Bangladeshi official went to the Unchiprang camp, near the city of Cox's Bazar. It is one of the largest refugee settlements in Bangladesh.
The official spoke to the refugees over a loudspeaker. He said "we have arranged everything for you, we have six buses here, we have trucks, we have food. We want to offer everything to you. If you agree to go, we'll take you to the border, to the transit camp."
However, hundreds of refugees refused the offer.
Bangladesh had attempted to start the return of the refugees to Myanmar, although United Nations officials had said they should wait. A U.N. negotiated deal with Bangladesh and Myanmar states that the Rohingya cannot be forced to return.
The countries had planned to send a first group of 2,251 people back in the middle of November, followed by about 150 each day after that.
Large numbers of Rohingya started fleeing Myanmar in August of 2017. That was when security forces launched a campaign against the group after rebels attacked guard stations.
The size and violence of the operation caused many nations and U.N. officials to accuse Myanmar of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Myanmar has a Buddhist majority. Most people there do not accept the Rohingya as a native ethnic group. They are considered "Bengalis" who illegally entered the country from Bangladesh. Most Rohingya are Muslim.
Almost all Rohingya in Myanmar have been denied citizenship. They are unable to attend schools or get medical care.
Human rights activists say it is not yet safe for the refugees to return.
Bill Frelick is with the New York City-based group Human Rights Watch. He said in a statement that "nothing the Myanmar government has said or done suggests that the Rohingya will be safe upon return."
The group said 150 people from 30 families were to be sent to a transit camp on Thursday, but the camp was empty except for security guards.
Bangladeshi officials said they have been working with the United Nations on a list of those who want to return to Myanmar.
At the Jamtoli refugee camp, 25-year-old Setara said she and her two children, age four and seven, were on a return list, but her parents were not. She said she never asked to return to Myanmar.
"They killed my husband; now I live here with my parents," she said. "I don't want to go back."
Setara said others who were named on the government's list had fled to other camps in hopes of disappearing.
Earlier plans to start sending the refugees back to Myanmar last January also were called off because of reports of continuing violence.
I'm Mario Ritter.
1.guard stations 警卫站
This frontier guard station is acting.
2.except for 除了...
Everyone was late, except for Richard.
3.medical care 医疗护理
For the homeless, private medical care is simply out of the question
4.refugee camps 难民营
They say they will stay to rebuild their homes rather than retreat to refugee camps.
5.Setara said others who were named on the government's list had fled to other camps in hopes of disappearing.
in hopes of 希望
Moderates are plagiarizing his ideas in hopes of wooing voters.
In hopes of attracting more tourists, the city of Manning built the worlds biggest mysterious maze.
6."They killed my husband; now I live here with my parents," she said. "I don't want to go back."
go back 返回
Should I go back to the motel and wait for you to telephone?
When you go back, would you take a message for me?
难民专员阿布勒·卡拉姆（Abul Kalam）告诉美联社，官员不能强迫他们离开 。但他表示，官员们会继续劝说难民离开 。
该官员用扩音器向难民喊话 。他说，“我们已经为大家安排好了一切，我们准备了6辆汽车、大型卡车以及食物 。我们愿意为你们提供一切物品 。如果大家同意回去，我们会护送到边境的过境营地 。”
孟加拉国曾试图将难民遣送回缅甸，但是联合国官员建议他们再等等 。联合国与孟加拉国以及缅甸谈判达成的协议规定，不能将罗兴亚人强制遣返 。
自2017年8月以来，大量罗兴亚人逃离缅甸 。当时，叛乱分子袭击警卫队后，缅甸安全部队对该族群发动残酷镇压 。
缅甸是一个以佛教徒为主的国家 。大多数人不接受罗兴亚穆斯林是一个本土族群，他们认为他们是非法进入缅甸的“孟加拉人” 。大多数罗兴亚人是穆斯林 。
比尔·佛瑞里克（Bill Frelick）就职于纽约市的人权观察组织 。他说在一份声明中表示：“缅甸政府的所言以及所为皆不能保证罗兴亚人归国后是安全的 。”
在Jamtoli难民营，25岁的Setara表示，她和两个孩子（4岁和7岁）都在遣返名单上，但她的父母却不在名单上 。她表示，自己从未要求返回缅甸 。