Myanmar repatriates one Rohingya family
BANGKOK — Myanmar has accepted what appears to be the first five among about 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape violence against the minority group, even though the United Nations says it’s not yet safe for them to return.
A government statement said Saturday five members of a family returned to Rakhine state from the border area. The statement said authorities provided them with a national verification card. The card is a form of ID, but does not mean citizenship — something Rohingya have been denied in Myanmar.
It said that the family was staying temporarily with relatives in Maungdaw town, the administrative centre close to the border.
The statement did not say if any more repatriations are being planned. Bangladesh has given Myanmar a list of more than 8,000 refugees to begin the repatriation, but it has been further delayed by a complicated verification process.
The two countries agreed in December to begin repatriating them in January, but they were delayed by concerns among aid workers and Rohingya that they would face unsafe conditions in Myanmar.