Bangladesh has postponed the gradual repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar, which was slated to being Tuesday, amid concerns that the refugees could be coerced into leaving. “We have not made the preparations required to send back people from tomorrow (January 23). A lot of preparation is still needed,” Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Abul Kalam announced on Monday.
“The main thing is that the process has to be voluntary,” said Azad, adding that paperwork for returning refugees had not yet been finalized and transit camps had yet to be built in Bangladesh. He did not give a new date for the start of the repatriation process. His announcement came amid widespread fears that repatriated refugees need guaranteed security otherwise they would be forced to return to Bangladesh by Myanmar, which has been involved in a bloody campaign of violence against its minority Muslim community based in Rakhine State.—Agencies.