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Burma and Bangladesh are to make a fresh attempt to begin repatriating the Rohingya who fled genocode in Arakan state in 2017, though the community say they have not been consulted.

More than 800,000 Rohingya fled over to border to Bangladesh after a military-led crackdown in Arakan state which saw villages razed, women raped and thousands killed. A UN fact-finding mission declared the violence had “genocidal intent”.

A document from prepared by UN agency UNHCR to be sent to the Rohingya community to inform them of the repatriation plan said: “The Government of Myanmar has confirmed that 3,450 Rohingya refugees are eligible to return. This is a welcome first step as it acknowledges that your right to return is recognized.”

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According to UNHCR, the Bangladesh government shared the names of Rohingya approved for repatriation with the UN agency on 8 August.

“The Government requested UNHCR to speak with these refugees to determine whether they wish to return. In this way, UNHCR will seek to ensure that any return is voluntary,” said the agency document.

Bangladesh have insisted that this will be a small-scale repatriation and no-one will be forced to return against their will.

Over one million Rohingya are now living in squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar but most fear return to Burma over concerns they would be placed in large government camps, described as “open air prisons”, with no freedom of movement or basic rights.

Read more from source: the Guardian