Myanmar’s protracted delay in repatriating Rohingya from Bangladesh


The Rohingya crisis, characterized by widespread displacement and persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, has been an ongoing humanitarian tragedy. The exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to neighboring Bangladesh since 2017 has drawn global attention and raised pressing questions about Myanmar’s commitment to repatriate its displaced population.

Despite international pressure and agreements outlining the repatriation process, Myanmar’s actions have been characterized by delays and hesitations, leaving the Rohingya refugees stranded in dire conditions in Bangladesh.

The complexities underlying Myanmar’s reluctance to expedite the repatriation of Rohingya refugees are multifaceted. They stem from deeply rooted historical, political, and socio-cultural issues within the country.

Central to this issue is Myanmar’s longstanding denial of citizenship and basic rights to the Rohingya population, considering them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh despite their centuries-old presence in Rakhine State. This denial of citizenship perpetuates a cycle of statelessness and discrimination, rendering the Rohingya vulnerable to violence and systemic marginalization.

Myanmar’s internal dynamics further complicate the repatriation process.

The power dynamics between the military and civilian government, historical ethnic tensions, and the complexities of implementing repatriation agreements hinder progress. The lack of a cohesive approach and consensus within Myanmar’s political landscape regarding the Rohingya exacerbates the delays in repatriation efforts.

Moreover, the conditions for safe and dignified return to Myanmar remain elusive. The absence of guarantees for the Rohingya’s safety, rights, and access to basic services in Rakhine State creates apprehensions among refugees and the international community. Reports of ongoing violence, restrictions on movement, and limited opportunities for rebuilding their lives in their places of origin contribute to the refugees’ reluctance to return.

Bangladesh, hosting a vast number of Rohingya refugees in overcrowded camps, has consistently advocated for their safe repatriation to Myanmar. However, the lack of substantial progress and assurances from Myanmar regarding the protection and rights of returning refugees has strained bilateral relations.

International pressure and diplomatic initiatives aimed at compelling Myanmar to expedite the repatriation process have had limited success. Persistent calls from the United Nations and other global entities urging Myanmar to create conducive conditions for the safe return of Rohingya refugees have not resulted in tangible outcomes.

The protracted delay in repatriating Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar underscores the intricate challenges and deep-seated issues that continue to hinder progress. Any meaningful resolution to this humanitarian crisis necessitates concerted efforts from Myanmar’s authorities, including the military, to address the root causes of discrimination and statelessness faced by the Rohingya population.

A genuine commitment to granting citizenship, ensuring safety, upholding human rights, and fostering inclusive reconciliation within Myanmar’s society is imperative. Simultaneously, sustained international pressure, support, and engagement with Myanmar are vital to facilitate a conducive environment for the safe and voluntary return of Rohingya refugees.

The complexities surrounding Myanmar’s delayed repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh are entrenched in historical grievances, political complexities, and humanitarian challenges. Resolving this crisis demands a comprehensive and coordinated approach, involving both internal reforms within Myanmar and concerted international efforts to address the plight of the Rohingya community.


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