Denial of land rights to Rohingyas

ACCORDING to a Reuter report, Rohingya Muslims who return to Myanmar after fleeing to Bangladesh are unlikely to be able to reclaim their land, and may find that their crops have been harvested and sold by the Myanmar Government. It quoted six Myanmar officials involved with repatriation and resettlement plans as saying that despite land holdings, Rohingyas are not recognised as citizens.
The latest development speaks volumes about real intentions of Myanmar Government, which was compelled to accept repatriation of those who fled to neighbouring Bangladesh in the face of brutal killings by Myanmar forces, as practically they are being treated as intruders and not citizens. Myanmar political leader Aung San Suu Kyi — a Nobel Peace Prize winner — has faced growing international condemnation for her refusal to condemn the actions of Myanmar’s security forces. She instead argued that there has been ‘an iceberg of misinformation’ regarding burning of Rohingyas’ villages and of people being slaughtered. However, the international community expressed optimism when she announced in September 2017 that her country was willing to take back Rohingyas who fled Rakhine State. However, there is no point in accepting them back in Myanmar when their lands have been occupied and they are being denied the ownership. It means they will have to live in their own country as a refugee or IDP and this would not make much difference for them as, at least, in Bangladesh they were not facing threats to their life. There are also reports that of those returning Rohingyas who are considered to be active, are facing prospects of detention and disappearance. Rohingyas not only need be allowed to return but their lands should be handed over to them and financial assistance provided for destroyed houses and burnt or looted crops. They have also been deprived of belongings and cash, therefore, they would need firm commitments by Myanmar and the international community till the time they are able to stand on their own feet.

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