No Rohingya refugees were repatriated till this noon as none of them showed “willingness” to return to Myanmar, said a relief official today. In a fresh attempt, 3,450 Rohingya people were scheduled to be repatriated to Myanmar since morning. “None of the listed Rohingya people expressed willingness to go back to their country,” Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said while talking to journalists at Shalbagan 26 No. Rohingya Camp at Nilai union in Teknaf upazila around 12:30pm.
“Five buses remain ready in front of the camp since morning waiting for the Rohingyas to get on but none have responded yet,” the RRRC official said. “If any of the listed refugees express willingness to go back to Myanmar we will send them” the official said while adding that Bangladesh will not force any of them to go back. Before any repatriation takes place, refugees are taken to transit camps and kept there for two to three days, but as of yesterday, no Rohingya was taken to any of the two transit camps — one at Keruntoli in Teknaf and the other in Ghundhum border area in Naikkhangchhari of Bandarban.
The process was announced by Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Myint Thu on August 15 and scheduled to begin today. Myanmar had cleared the names of 3,450 Rohingyas from a list of 22,000 plus Rohingyas sent by Bangladesh. In early August, Bangladesh provided the approved list to the UNHCR in Dhaka and sought its assistance in assessing their willingness to return to Myanmar. Accordingly, UNHCR and RRRC officials conducted an “intention survey” on those listed, although it could not be ascertained how many took part in it.