Rohingya refugees call for safe, dignified return to homes in Rakhine State

Rohingya living in the world’s largest refugee camp made the call at a gathering held to mark the six-year anniversary of their mass forced exile to Bangladesh

Rohingya people living in the Kutupalong camp—the world’s largest refugee camp—in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, gathered to mark the six-year anniversary of their mass forced migration on Friday.

It was on this day in 2017 that Myanmar’s military launched “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine State that left thousands of Rohingya dead and drove nearly a million more across the border to escape what many international observers have described as a genocidal ethnic-cleansing campaign.

Carrying signs bearing the slogan “Our Home, Our Dignity,” the Rohingya refugees called for their dignified return to their homes in Rakhine State and the restoration of their properties.

Singing Myanmar’s national anthem, they also demanded the recognition of the Rohingya as one of the country’s ethnic groups.

In a statement on Thursday, Volker Türk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the human rights of the Rohingya must be fully respected and their security guaranteed for them to be able to return to their homes with dignity and in freedom.

“This is currently not the case given the precarious conditions in Rakhine State. Furthermore, the military has shown no willingness to address systematic discrimination against the Rohingya,” he said.

He also added that more must be done to hold the military to account for their repeated campaigns of persecution against the Rohingya, and for current crises.

“In the face of the impunity enjoyed by the Myanmar military for past and present crimes against the Rohingya as well as other groups, I call on States fully to support the ongoing international accountability efforts,” he said.

More than 730,000 Rohingya now live in the sprawling camps of Cox’s Bazar, where they face tightening measures implemented by security forces and growing violence by armed groups.

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