Rohingya Refugee Return Must Happen Voluntarily, In Line With Humanitarian Norms - ICRC

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Rohingya Refugee Return Must Happen Voluntarily, in Line With Humanitarian Norms - ICRC

The return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar must only happen voluntarily, in full accordance with humanitarian norms, Ikhtiyar Aslanov, a former head of the ICRC regional delegation in Bangladesh, told Sputnik in an interview

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 16th September, 2019) The return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar must only happen voluntarily, in full accordance with humanitarian norms, Ikhtiyar Aslanov, a former head of the ICRC regional delegation in Bangladesh, told Sputnik in an interview.

In 2017, Myanmar's military launched a major offensive on Rohingya villages and outposts in the Rakhine state after unidentified Islamic extremists attacked police and security posts. More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled the country as a result, mainly to neighboring Bangladesh. In August, the United Nations said that Myanmar had given Bangladesh a list of nearly 3,500 Rohingya allowed to return to their homes, but no one indicated willingness to accept the offer at that moment.

"What's important is that the return is happening voluntarily, respecting the principles of humanitarian law and it happens in dignified manner.

We hope that these negotiations between these two countries [Bangladesh and Myanmar] will be framed under these principles," Aslanov, who currently heads the ICRC delegation for Russia, Belarus and Moldova, said.

According to Aslanov, the ICRC has been providing assistance on both sides of the border since the beginning of the crisis.

"On one hand, the ICRC responds to the food, water, restoring family links and health needs of the displaced people, refugees; on the other hand we are also looking into the needs of the host communities in Bangladesh," he noted.

The Red Cross, in particular, has a number of micro-economic initiatives in host communities, so that they could diversify their economic activities, the ICRC regional head pointed out.

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