Inside Story

Is it safe for Rohingya refugees to return to Rakhine?

Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed a deal to send Rohingya refugees back to Rakhine State. But is it safe to return?

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar for nearly three months.

The mostly Muslim minority escaped a military crackdown in Rakhine State that the UN has labelled “ethnic cleansing”.

Today, more than 600,000 Rohingya are living in makeshift refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Now, the governments of the two countries have signed a deal to send the refugees back to Myanmar.

It is a decision human rights groups are calling “unthinkable”. They say the refugees should not be sent back if their safety cannot be guaranteed.

Extensive reports of abuse, rape, torture and killings have been detailed in Rakhine State.

The military says it is combating Rohingya fighters, but the operation has been condemned around the world. The government of Aung San Suu Kyi strongly denies accusations of abuse, however.

Will Myanmar guarantee the safety of the Rohingya refugees who return to Myanmar?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Tun Khin President of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK

Ben Phillips Humanitarian Officer, Oxfam

Gwen Robinson Chief Editor, Nikkei Asia Review