Home | World | Rohingya need an 'autonomous region', not repatriation

Rohingya need an 'autonomous region', not repatriation

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
Rohingya need an 'autonomous region', not repatriation
 England, United Kingdom - As Myanmar's Rohingya continue to trickle into neighbouring Bangladesh, extending a six-month exodus, talk of repatriation simmers at the diplomatic level.
There are already about one million members of the persecuted, mostly-Muslim minority struggling in overcrowded camps in the South Asian country.
They have fled what several international leaders have termed a genocide in Myanmar, their home country where they are not granted the simplest of rights - including citizenship.
Victims and rights groups have provided evidence of a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Myanmar security forces stand accused of raping Rohingya women, tossing babies into fires, burning down entire villages and slaughtering thousands.
In January, Bangladesh and Myanmar announced a repatriation deal, prompting concerns from rights groups and members of the Rohingya.
The Rohingya were not consulted about the agreement, which does not guarantee safety upon return or basic rights such as full citizenship.
"Some people asked me - how can we return to this place?" says Tun Khin, a Rohingya activist and the head of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, who visited camps in Bangladesh last week.
"It is a joke. It is not the time to talk about repatriation," he adds. 
On Thursday, Tun Khin will address students at the University of Oxford, a symbolic location. Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de-facto leader charged with complicity over killings of Rohingya, studied at the university's St Hugh's College.  Students there, angered that Aung San Suu Kyi remained a revered figure across campus as the crisis unfolded in Myanmar, recently succeeded in removing her portrait from the entrance and name from a common room.
Tun Khin will be joined on the panel by Maung Zarni, a member of Myanmar's Buddhist majority who hails from a military family. The scholar and activist, who is also based in the UK, says he is in "complete opposition to what my own community is doing to Tun Khin's community".