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A Cruel Deception: The Myanmar Government's Resettlement Plan for Rohingya Returnees
Booklet describing Reception and Resettlement Arrangements for the Rohingya - Part of the Farcical Pilot Repatriation programme of Bangladesh, China & Myanmar.
As part of a confidence-building measure, 20 volunteer refugees were taken to Myanmar (on 5th May 2023) and provided with a booklet detailing the arrangements they could expect upon their return. The document outlines the Myanmar government's plans for the reception and resettlement of Rohingya refugees under a pilot project. However, the provisions it offers to the Rohingya, who have already faced unimaginable hardships and lost lives, land, and livelihoods, are woefully inadequate. The meagre provisions, including 60-foot by 25-foot housing allocations and paltry financial support for vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and the elderly, indicate a government plan that seems to wilfully ignore the gravity of the situation.
In addition, the booklet underscores the authorities' insistence on the contentious National Verification Card (NVC) process, which the Rohingya community has consistently opposed. In fact, during their visit, the Rohingya volunteers conveyed their staunch disapproval of the NVC to a junta official, illustrating their unwavering resistance to the scheme. See the video on this thread:
The Rohingya community has repeatedly rejected the NVC, viewing it as an attempt to further marginalise them and deny their fundamental rights. Rather than addressing the underlying citizenship and recognition issues, the Myanmar authorities persist in promoting the NVC.
Compounding this, the controversial 1982 Citizenship Law remains a significant point of contention, having been denounced by various international bodies, such as the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, for its role in perpetuating discrimination against the Rohingya. The booklet's reliance on the 1982 Citizenship Law as the guiding framework for applications and documentation is yet another barrier to the pilot project's success. The law's discriminatory nature against the Rohingya people and its implementation in the current repatriation efforts signal that the Myanmar authorities are not genuinely committed to resolving the Rohingya crisis. Incorporating such a contentious law into the repatriation process further erodes the pilot project's credibility and casts doubt on the prospects of a just and equitable return for the Rohingya to their homeland.
The Myanmar junta's plans for the resettlement of Rohingya returnees, as outlined in the document, exhibit a severe lack of sensitivity and empathy towards the plight of the displaced community. By limiting their resettlement options to only 15 designated villages or two other pre-built locations, the authorities are not only restricting the Rohingyas' freedom to return to their original homes but are also undermining their right to self-determination. Furthermore, the requirement for returnees to participate in the Cash-for-Work Programme in order to build their own homes can be seen as exploitative, adding to the hardships they have already endured. This approach casts serious doubt on the Myanmar junta's commitment to addressing the Rohingya crisis and only serves to exacerbate the marginalisation and persecution of the Rohingya. The Myanmar government's plan is alarmingly deficient, and their attempt to present it as a viable solution for Rohingya repatriation is both disingenuous and callous.
Read my comments on what the document has to say about healthcare here: