Rohingya rally in B’desh to mark anniversary of mass exodus, demand safe return

DHAKA : Thousands of Rohingya Muslims rallied in Bangladeshi refugee camps to demand justice for a crackdown carried out on them five years ago by the Myanmar military.

“We want justice,” shouted the refugees on Thursday, who gathered outside their makeshift dwellings in the district of Cox’s Bazar.

The rally with more than 10,000 people marked the fifth anniversary of the mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, reports dpa news agency.

Community leaders demanded the safe and dignified return of the refugees to their homeland.

Bangladesh has been hosting more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims who fled persecution in Myanmar in the past decades at squalid camps near the border with Myanmar.

Some 750,000 of them crossed the border after a military crackdown launched on the minority group by the Buddhist-majority Myanmar on August 25, 2017.

“We don’t want to be trapped inside the camps for life, it’s painful. We want to go back to our home,” Muhammad Zubair, one of the community leaders, told a rally at Kutupalong camp, one of the largest refugee settlements in the world.

Two earlier attempts at repatriating the Rohingya, as per an agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar, failed in 2019 after the refugees turned down the offer to return due to security concerns.

The UN on Thursday called for a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis.

“I will continue to advocate for greater leadership of countries in the region in supporting Bangladesh and leveraging their influence with Myanmar to create conducive conditions for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of refugees,” UN special envoy Noeleen Heyzer said during a visit to Bangladesh. — IANS

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