US Wants Safe Return of Rohingya to Burma

Rohingya Muslims in an unregistered refugee camp in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (Photo: Reuters: Reuters)

DHAKA, Bangladesh—The United States on Thursday urged Bangladesh to keep its border open to Rohingya refugees fleeing Burma in the wake of June violence but advocated their safe repatriation as a long-term solution.

A delegation of the US State Department recently visited the troubled region in Myanmar where violence between Arakanese (Rakhaine) Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in June left at least 80 people dead. The team later visited refugee camps of Rohingya in Bangladesh’s southern Cox’s Bazar district.

US officials said at a news conference in Dhaka that the situation in Burma  was still grave for the Rohingya people.

They urged both Burma and Bangladesh to work out a long-term solution while stressed the need for providing food and basic healthcare to stateless Rohingya.

Dan W. Mozena praised Bangladesh for its years of support to the Rohingya people but urged the country to do more for tens of thousands of undocumented Rohingya in Bangladesh.

Mozena, who did not visit Burma but went with the full delegation to the camps in Bangladesh, said the situation was “grim” among refugees outside the official camps who were deprived of basic needs.

Some 28,000 Rohingya refugees live in two official camps in Cox’s Bazar district, but tens of thousands of others languish outside without proper care or facilities.

The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier this year asked three international organizations to stop providing services to undocumented Rohingya to discourage fresh refugees from Burma. The government says it needs to take precautions because it has intelligence reports that some Islamic militant groups have targeted the Rohingya refugees for recruitment.

The US officials were concerned about the situation of Rohingya people in Burma, said one of the delegation who visited there, Kelly Clements, deputy assistant secretary for Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Clements said displacement of Rohingya people was still rampant in the troubled region, where many homes were burned to the ground during the violence. But she praised Burma for allowing them “unprecedented access” to see the area.

She said reconciliation and reintegration of the ethnic groups should top Myanmar’s government agenda to resolve the crisis.

She said both Bangladesh and Burma, officially known as Myanmar, should ensure basic assistance to the people in trouble.

The US officials also pushed for continuous dialogue between Bangladesh and Burma.

Burma considers the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship. Bangladesh says Rohingya have been living in Burma for centuries and should be recognized there as citizens.

In the 1990s, about 250,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh in the face of alleged persecution by the military junta.

Later, Burma took back most of them, leaving some 28,000 in two camps run by the government and the United Nations.

Bangladesh has been unsuccessfully negotiating with Burma for years to send them back and, in the meantime, tens of thousands of others have entered Bangladesh illegally in recent years.


14 Responses to US Wants Safe Return of Rohingya to Burma

  1. I do not understand why us want rohingya return to burma. THERE IS NO ROHINGYA IN BURMA. there is no rohingya in burma. They are bangoli from bangladesh. it is not fair bangladesh people have the right to invade burma by the name of rohingya.

    • bcoz you have verylittle knowldge and as Dr Maung Zarni saying in uk you are growing up as proud racist and intolerant buddist who claim peaceful.

    • Hi Sakenah, learn burma history before you write. Rohingya are native ethnic people of the region before burma independence in 1948. They are considered as native ethnic by all burma democratic governments after independence. State owned Burma Brocasting Service (BBS) broadcast-ed Mon, Pa O and Rohingya programmes trice a week from 15 May 1961 to 01 October 1965.This clearly showed government’s recognition of Rohingya’s indigenous ethnics status in Burma.There citizenship was forcefully taken by Military Ne Win government.

  2. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    Fact finding committee is still investigating about the recent communal riots and hasn’t finished its job yet. By now, the whole world should be convinced that there wasn’t such thing as mass murder, genocide, or ethnic cleaning in the Rakhine State of Burma.

    If Burma is obligated to share the burden of stateless people based on humanitarian ground as part of international community, the rule of law in the Rakhine state has to be in place first before any commitment to do so. Most of these people are not the citizens of Burma; they are Bangladeshi who just want to have better life without knowing the right approach to do so. Since a lot of them seem to be very violent in their nature, they have to be rehabilitated either to integrate into Bangladesh society or elsewhere.

    It is about time for Burma to scrutinize its immigration law, and its law enforcement to make sure that it will only take innocent Burmese born aliens with the proof of respective resident status of Burma as part of its international community responsibility of our human kind.

    For the time being, the most pragmatic solution to this unfortunate stateless crisis in Rakhine State of Burma is to have the president U Thein Sein’s suggested designated safe area in Burma to keep stability in the region until the rule of law is in place to precede Burma’s share of its international community responsibility.

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

  3. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    No doubt
    that the state and religious institutes has to be separated in order to have functioning
    society with the tolerance at its heart. Burma is not the only country which
    has some sort of adversity when it comes to freedom of religion. There is no
    absolute freedom of religion in any countries on earth.

    It is no
    fair to point a finger at Burma with the accusation of favoring Buddhism and
    discrimination against Christine and Muslim. When it comes to religious
    tolerance, Burma never ever was behind any other civilized societies. Burma has
    more Mosques than any other Buddhist countries and the whole United States of
    America; more Churches in Burma than Buddhist temple in the whole United
    States.

    Saffron
    revolution hasn’t faded away completely yet, a massacre of hundreds of monks
    and imprisonment of thousands of Buddhism followers by Burmese military regime.
    Each and every one of Burmese has been suffering from totalitarian rule.

    Burma
    can’t afford to have an American like Warren Steed Jeffs, the polygamist leader
    of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that has 10,000
    followers and has 79 wives and nearly 60 children and nor it could allow a
    place like Bountiful British Columbia in Canada where Winston Blackmore, the
    leader of Canada’s largest polygamist group under the name of Christianity, has
    46 wives and 101 children.

    The
    comment of Denis McDonough, the deputy national security adviser to the Obama
    administration, is irrelevant to what Burma actually is. Without any bias, it
    can’t deny that Burma is a place where more practices of religion are tolerated
    than United States of America.

    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    • Hi Burmese Freedom Fighter. Get the things right. The fact is that there is systematic religious discrimination toward Muslims and Christians. All mosques and churches you mentioned were built in a century ago. Since decades ago, no mosque or church can be built in Burma. Even to get renovation permit for existing church and mosque is next to impossible unless you bribe huge amount of money to local authority. State-sponsored Buddhist mobs ransacked and destroyed thousands of Muslim (non-Rohingya) homes,shops, and tens of mosques in the township of Taunggyi(1988), Pyay(for 7 days and 7 nights in1988), Myde/Aunglan(1988), Mandalay (1997, 2003), Taungoo( 2001), Myitthar (2003), Kyauk Se(2003), Thinganggyune(2003), Meikhtila (2003), Pe-khoke-ku(2003). After the violence, many local Muslims moved away to nearby towns and to as far away as Yangon. That explains why there are many Muslims in Yangon.

      • The Burmese Freedom Fighter

        Hello Observer;
        Get the things right! We have seen the Budda Status being demolished in Afghanistan at the hand of Muslim brother Talaban, a complete insane move and an insult to Buddhism, but tolerance was there in the Buddhist community.

        Now amateur video clip came out on Youtube, a film no one know of and can be considered as an insult to Islam, but there wasn’t any tolerance within the Muslim community, killing an American ambassador, and setting embassies on fire in tons of Islamic countries.

        The facts and evidences proves that Burmese are one of the most tolerated people on earth when it comes to religions.

        The Burmese Freedom Fighter

  4. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    No doubt that the state and religious institutes has to be separated in order to have functioning society with the tolerance at its heart. Burma is not the only country which has some sort of adversity when it comes to freedom of religion. There is no absolute freedom of religion in any countries on earth.
     
    It is no fair to point a finger at Burma with the accusation of favoring Buddhism and discrimination against Christine and Muslim. When it comes to religious tolerance, Burma never ever was behind any other civilized societies. Burma has more Mosques than any other Buddhist countries and the whole United States of America; more Churches in Burma than Buddhist temple in the whole United States. 
     
    Saffron revolution hasn’t faded away completely yet, a massacre of hundreds of monks and imprisonment of thousands of Buddhism followers by Burmese military regime. Each and every one of Burmese has been suffering from totalitarian rule.
     
    Burma can’t afford to have an American like Warren Steed Jeffs, the polygamist leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that has 10,000 followers and has 79 wives and nearly 60 children and nor it could allow a place like Bountiful British Columbia in Canada where Winston Blackmore, the leader of Canada’s largest polygamist group under the name of Christianity, has 46 wives and 101 children.  
     
    The comment of Denis McDonough, the deputy national security adviser to the Obama administration, is irrelevant to what Burma actually is. Without any bias, it can’t deny that Burma is a place where more practices of religion are tolerated than United States of America. 
     
    The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    • The Union of Myanmar might have more churches than the Buddhist monasteries the US. It is not because the US government forbid the Buddhists to build monasteries. As long as you have enough fund, you can build as much as you want. Freedom of religion flourishes in the USA. Buddhism has experienced no restriction here in America. You can come and expand your faith. I visited many Buddhist monasteries here in America. They all enjoy freedom of religion.

      • The Burmese Freedom Fighter

        At the end of the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca), Muslims throughout the world celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice).

        In Burma, Muslim can enjoy slashing the throat of cows, goats and other substances at their ritual in celebration of Eid on every corner of Burma’s streets while there is a complete ban on that type of ritual celeberation in the United State of America.

        The Burmese Freedom Fighter

  5. The Burmese Freedom Fighter

    Fact finding committee is still investigating about the recent communal riots and hasn’t finished its job yet. By now, the whole world should be convinced that there wasn’t such thing as mass murder, genocide, or ethnic cleaning in the Rakhine State of Burma.
     
    If Burma is obligated to share the burden of stateless people based on humanitarian ground as part of international community, the rule of law in the Rakhine state has to be in place first before any commitment to do so. Most of these people are not the citizens of Burma; they are Bangladeshi who just want to have better life without knowing the right approach to do so. Since a lot of them seem to be very violent in their nature, they have to be rehabilitated either to integrate into Bangladesh society or elsewhere. 
     
    It is about time for Burma to scrutinize its immigration law, and its law enforcement to make sure that it will only take innocent Burmese born aliens with the proof of respective resident status of Burma as part of its international community responsibility of our human kind.
     
    For the time being, the most pragmatic solution to this unfortunate stateless crisis in Rakhine State of Burma is to have the president U Thein Sein’s suggested designated safe area in Burma to keep stability in the region until the rule of law is in place to precede Burma’s share of its international community responsibility. 
     
    The Burmese Freedom Fighter
     

  6. There are several issues here.

    But most important is no one is the need to sort out the principal problem which is the fear felt by the locals on both sides. And the scary prospect of wildly popular Salafism finding a hook here based on the repetitive description of situation as purely one sided aggressive unfair act of the Buddhists on saintly Muslims as all out Buddhist-Muslim crusade calling for international jihad. Currently all the NGO’s, UN bodies and academisc are describing the situation as purely one sided affair ignoring the deep, deep fear felt by the local populace for bodily harm which is real and is seen on daily basis. This amounts to invitation by them for a world wide jihad against all things Buddhist and all thing s Burmese. Already physical harm is seen in places far and wide around Asia. It would be wise for people to write accurately and without uncalled for generalizations.

    It is especially ironic as the most chauvinistic portion of Burmese are the current and ex-military people and the same international community condemning the appalling chauvinistic attitude are literally laying down red carpet for their arch representative and could not stop praising even in the face of that bizarre “packing off the whole community” demand.

    Some ironies are funny. This one is dangerous.

  7. Don’t worry. Obama will pick them up and keep them safe at Guantanamo Bay where their fellow Al Qaeda members stay safely. Myanmar is not the right place for them because they do not belong there. It is not about race or religion but violent nature which the Arakanese can no longer bear from these alien intruders.

    • Shwe Yoe, at last you have found a solution and what you said is absolutely right.Myanmar is not the right place for them because they do not belong there. It is not about race or religion but violent nature which the Arakanese can no longer bear from these alien intruders and murderers.

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