The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Bangladeshi government to stop misleading and coercing Rohingya refugees to meet, without their knowledge, with Burmese delegations as part of a "pilot program" to return them to their country, where their freedoms and their lives are in danger.
More than 730,000 members of this minority have fled Myanmar since 2017, when the country’s ruling military junta began committing "mass atrocities" as are genocide and other crimes against humanity.
"Safe, voluntary and dignified returns of Rohingya refugees to Burma are not possible while the military junta is carrying out massacres across the country and practicing apartheid in Rakhine State."declared the South Asia director of Human Rights Watch in a statement.
The NGO has ensured that the repatriation program, which has some 700 people registered out of the 1,000 expected, is just an attempt to "fake progress" in its treatment of this minority in view of its presentation before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
"They only want us to go back to Rakhine because they are under pressure. We know that they will not let us return to our homes and that they will lock us up in a camp forever. We will only return when they publicly commit to grant us the same rights as other citizens in Burma and return our land and property to us."declared a refugee interviewed by HRW.
Although Bangladesh has respected the right of refugees not to be returned to a country where their life or freedom is threatened, it has also intensified restrictions on their livelihoods, movement and education.
The Rohingya are a Muslim minority who live mostly in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country. Burma considers them descendants of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and does not recognize them as citizens, thereby depriving them of basic rights.