Myanmar building, but no sign of Rohingya returning

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Workers on the Burma side of the border with Bangladesh were laying bricks, digging ditches and drilling holes in building frames today in preparation for the repatriation of some of the Rohingya Muslims who have poured into Bangladesh in what has become the world's worst refugee crisis.

Journalists were allowed to watch the work at the transition camp being prepared for the refugees Wednesday but saw no sign of the almost 700,000 Rohingya chased out by Myanmar security forces and Buddhist mobs since August.

Myanmar invited journalists from The Associated Press and other media to the border to show it's ready for a gradual repatriation. Bangladesh says it's preparing for the transfer, but it might need more time.

"While it is important to recognize that the military still wield significant power and that they are primarily to blame for the recent exodus of refugees in the wake of ARSA [Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army] attacks, the absence of Daw Suu's moral leadership on this critical issue is of great concern", says Richardson.

Almost 690,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state in late August.

Aung Min said the repatriation process would be carried out five days a week and around 300 people would be accepted in two reception centers each day.

The plan has sparked fears in refugee camps in Bangladesh that people may be forced to return despite a lack of guarantees around their security.

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"Rohingya refugees shouldn't be returned to camps guarded by the very same Burmese forces who forced them to flee massacres and gang rapes and torched villages", Asia director Brad Adams said on January 23.

Almost 690,000 Rohingya have fled a Myanmar army crackdown and crossed over to Bangladesh and many do not want to go back to Rakhine. Myanmar wants to put us in temporary camps but there is no mention of when we would be allowed to go back to our ancestral home and get back our property.

They lauded Bangladesh for sheltering more than 688,000 refugees who have fled military crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine state since August 25. The UN human rights chief has also suggested it may be genocide. They have been denied citizenship, freedom of movement and other basic rights.

A four-member fact-finding mission of APHR talked to the Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh government and United Nations officials and also held meeting with Bangladesh parliament speaker during the five days.

The two countries have signed an agreement to begin sending people home in "safety, security and dignity", but rights groups have expressed worry about Rohingya returning to villages they left only months ago in terror.

According to the United Nations refugee agency and other rights groups, Rohingya are still fleeing across the border into Bangladesh, although the numbers are smaller than in previous months.