For Immediate Release
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is encouraged following the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and the UN Development Programme with the Myanmar government. PHR is hopeful that the agreement will be a successful first step in establishing a framework for cooperation between the parties in order to ensure safe, voluntary, and dignified repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, and a lasting and sustainable solution to the oppression and violence suffered by communities living in Rakhine state.
PHR’s director of programs, Homer Venters, MD, who has documented evidence of violence against the Rohingya, says conditions in the region do not yet guarantee safe passage for repatriation nor do they offer sufficient guarantees of security and rights for Rohingya wanting to return. Nonetheless, the agreement signed today signals a possible shift.
“Before repatriation can take place, we need the government of Myanmar to allow for a full, impartial investigation by international bodies into the campaign of violence unleashed on the Rohingya. The truth needs to be established so that the perpetrators can be held to account. The apparent commitment displayed today by the Myanmar government to work with the UN to find a way to make the Rohingya population feel protected, and for them to be safe, is encouraging, but more needs to be done. The government must establish a clear pathway to citizenship for all members of the Rohingya community who wish to attain it, as well as guarantees that they have freedom of movement in Myanmar without threat of attack,” Venters said.
“Without Myanmar’s full partnership with the UN, as well as transparency and accountability, any prospect for lasting security for the Rohingya people in the future is compromised,” Venters added.
Read more about PHR’s work on the Rohingya crisis.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.