Washington, Dec 20: The US has appealed for a dignified and voluntary return of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar, but said that conditions are not conducive enough for such a move. Some 625,000 Rohingya refugees have fled the Rakhine state of Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh in the last six months after the Myanmar army launched a crackdown.
“In terms of the repatriation plan, we’d like to see the plan. We’ve heard about it in concept, but one of the things that would be important to be in that plan is the voluntary, safe and dignified return,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters here.
“It (repatriation) has to be voluntary. People have to feel like it’s safe to go home. If they don’t feel like it’s safe to go home, it’s probably not going to be safe to go home. They have to have a dignified return. That means treating the people well as they decide to return home,” she said.
Insisting that repatriation needs to be voluntary, she said the refugees can’t be forced to leave one country to go to another country.
“They have to feel safe and ready to go home. We hope that the refugees will eventually be able to go home to Burma. More than 600,000 of them have been forced across the border since August alone, and now it’s December,” she said.
Nauert also said that Bangladesh has been so generous in accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees and the US government has provided significant financial assistance.