Dhaka, Nov 15 : Canada has urged the government of Myanmar to guarantee the necessary safeguards for and protection of any returning Rohingya saying repatriation must not be rushed.
Canada has also underscored the vital role of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to determine the voluntariness of possible returns of Rohingyas and ensure this is based on informed consent.
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau made the call in a joint statement as repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar is scheduled to begin on Thursday (today).
They said Canada is “deeply concerned” about the proposed repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar this month.
UN bodies and international organizations have been clear that conditions for the Rohingya to return to Myanmar are clearly insufficient, they said.
“The crisis continues. Violence and impunity persist in Rakhine state, and refugees continue to flee the country. The Rohingya must not be repatriated to an environment where violence and gross human rights abuses continue to be perpetrated,” reads the statement issued on Wednesday.
They said Canada has consistently emphasized that the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar must be voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable and that it must uphold their human rights.
The Ministers said ensuring safe freedom of movement, equal rights, access to health and education services and, most importantly, access to citizenship is essential for all Rohingya.
“We continue to call on the Government of Myanmar to grant full and unimpeded access for UN and international organizations, as well as for international observers, to monitor, assess and facilitate any future repatriation efforts,” the statement reads.