Myanmar says it's repatriated first Rohingya family since exodus

UN Security Council envoys to visit Bangladesh Myanmar

The move comes despite warnings from the United Nations and other rights groups that a mass repatriation of Rohingya would be premature, as Myanmar has yet to address the systematic legal discrimination and persecution the minority has faced for decades.

Myanmar's government has confirmed it has repatriated the first Rohingya family after more than 700,000 fled Bangladesh.

According to the Rohingya Blogger, however, the individuals in the photos are the family members of the administrator of Taung Pyo Latya, the designated entry point for returning refugees.

The structures will be part of the Taung Pyo Letwe receiving center for Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh to seek refuge from violence past year and who are willing to return to Burma. The most recent one, carrying 70 Rohingya reportedly set out from Burma toward Malaysia on Thursday, the same day the family of five returned to Rakhine.

Images accompanying the social media post on Saturday showed five individuals receiving identification cards - which do not grant citizenship - from uniformed Myanmar officials, and getting medical help and living provisions from health and social workers.

It added that the family members who "are in line with the rules" were issued the National Verification Cards (NVCs) upon entering Burma.

"Such concrete measures would help demonstrate to refugees that the Government of Myanmar is committed to a sustainable solution", it said.

But the relocation was not part of the repatriation agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar, said Bangladesh Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam.

Rohingya who have been repatriated in the past have been forced to live in camps in Burma.

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Myanmar authorities have since bulldozed over numerous charred villages, raising alarm from rights groups who say they are erasing evidence of atrocities and obscuring the Rohingya's ties to the country.

During the visit, Win announced that Myanmar is ready for the repatriation of Rohingya.

Last week, the most senior United Nations official to visit Myanmar this year, assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs Ursula Mueller, said the conditions in Myanmar were not conducive to the return of the refugees.

Bill Frelick, director of Human Rights Watch's (HRW) refugee rights programme, also recently called Myanmar's plan "wishful thinking".

"Refugee return also can not be divorced from the question of impunity for the crimes that caused the refugees to flee", he said.

Most Burmese consider the Rohingya as unwanted immigrants from Bangladesh, and the army refers to them as "Bengalis". As of April 1, only 600 individuals have been verified by Myanmar, according to HRW.

The Rohingya exodus has created a humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh, a small, poor country that is one of the most densely populated in the world.

Doctors Without Borders says the violence claimed at least 6,700 Rohingya lives in the first month alone.

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