Rohingya organizations worldwide criticized a new agreement signed between Myanmar and the U.N. on repatriation of Rohingya refugees, saying it did not touch the root causes of the crisis.
"We are deeply concerned that the MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] did not address the root causes of the Rohingya crisis, particularly the issue of Rohingya citizenship and ethnic identity," said a joint statement signed by 23 Rohingya organizations, including the European Rohingya Council (ERC) and Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) on Saturday.
On June 6, the Myanmar government signed the agreement with the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) and the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), allowing them to get involved in the much-delayed repatriation process.
"All previous records showed that the U.N. agencies, including UNHCR as the agent of the interest of the international community, could not provide adequate protection to the Rohingya returnees due to obstinacy of the Myanmar government," it said.
It added the Rohingya people were unwilling to return Myanmar as the authorities, which "engaged in genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity", had not changed their attitudes towards them.
"They could not trust the Myanmar government and military that have killed, raped, and starved them with hundreds of their villages razed, their land taken and homesteads bulldozed."
It also called for international protection from state and regional actors and the U.N. peace-keeping forces.
"Last but not least, there must be accountability and perpetrators of crimes must be brought to justice and referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC)," it concluded.
The Rohingya, described by the U.N. as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012. Since Aug. 25, 2017, more than 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International. At least 9,400 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine from August to September of last year, according to Doctors Without Borders.
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