Asia - Pacific

Thousands of Rohingya rally in Bangladesh to demand safe return to Myanmar

Rohingya refugees gather in Cox's Bazar camps on World Refugee Day to remind world community of their pledges

SM Najmus Sakib   | 19.06.2022
Thousands of Rohingya rally in Bangladesh to demand safe return to Myanmar File Photo

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Thousands of Rohingya at refugee camps in Bangladesh's southeast coast of Cox's Bazar held large rallies on Sunday, calling on the international community to make arrangements for their safe return to Myanmar, along with being granted citizenship rights.

Ignoring the rain, Rohingya refugees gathered in the Ukhiya and Teknaf camps and began holding simultaneous protests early in the morning.

"We held the rally on the eve of World Refugee Day to let the world know that we want to return to our homeland," Ansar Ali, an organizer of the rallies, told Anadolu Agency.

"And, before we can have a dignified and sustainable repatriation, we require citizenship."

He asked the international community to take immediate action to launch their sustainable repatriation.

Thousands of Rohingya participated in the protests, carrying banners reading "Let's Go Home" and "Persecuted Rohingya."

Rohingya protesters holding placards, banners, and festoons at various sites throughout the two camps demanded recognition of the Rohingya people as well as repatriation to Myanmar as soon as possible.

"Rohingya refugees also submitted a list of 19-point demands," Ali stated, emphasizing that "if these requests are met, Rohingyas will be allowed to return to Myanmar and live safely."

Their demands included that the Rohingya be referred to as Rohingya rather than displaced people. In addition, immediate repatriation under agreements signed by the US, UN, UK, EU, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Bangladesh, the repeal of Burma's 1982 citizenship law, and the return of their properties.

A significant number of policemen were positioned at the camps to avert any untoward incidents. The rally ended peacefully.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as "the most persecuted minority in the world," were subjected to a savage military campaign in Myanmar's Rakhine state in August 2017.

According to the UN refugee agency, thousands of Rohingya have been massacred by the Myanmar army, forcing more than one million to flee the country in successive waves of displacement since the 1990s.

Bangladesh alone hosts around 1.2 million Rohingya in Cox's Bazar who have fled the violence and persecution since 2017.

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