Rohingya refugees must not be forced back to Burma without security and citizenship
Burma Task Force Canada is appealing to the Canadian government to ensure that Rohingya refugees are not forced back to Burma against their will. Many of these refugees, fleeing a genocidal regime in Myanmar, escaped to Bangladesh to avoid persecution.
It would be unconscionable for Rohingya refugees to be placed in danger again. According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, "conditions in Myanmar's Rakhine state are not in place to enable safe and sustainable returns. Refugees are still fleeing, and many have suffered violence, rape, and deep psychological harm".
In late December 2017, the Government of Bangladesh announced that it has submitted the names of 100,000 Rohingya refugees to Myanmar authorities, marking the first phase of the repatriation agreement. Naturally, the victims of Myanmar’s persecution fear being forced to return to an extremely dangerous and uncertain situation. Given the role that the Myanmar military has played in recent mass atrocities, forced repatriation (or “refoulement”) would be cruel.
Under international law, refugees have the right to return to their original villages and homes. However, the Burmese military has burned entire Rohingya villages to the ground, leaving them without homes to return to. The leadership in Myanmar has spoken about isolating returnees in “model villages”, a form of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp. It does not make sense to force an entire group of people from one camp in Bangladesh to another in Myanmar, where the massacre and genocide is taking place.
Furthermore, the Myanmar government has already announced that it is seizing the lands and properties left behind by displaced Rohingya. Under Burmese law, such properties become the property of the state and there has been no public discussion of either restoration or reparation.
That Canada pledges to ensure Rohingya refugees are not forced back to Burma against their will.
That Canada lead the international community in pressing for United Nations established safe zones, with UN peacekeepers and a mandate to defend and protect the Rohingya in Myanmar allowing for the Rohingya to reintegrate in peace and security.
Rohingya are recognized as full citizens in their ancestral land; just as they were before the 1982 citizenship Law,
Please contact the Government of Canada, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chystia Freeland and the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations and ask them to take action now.