Rohingyas must not be forced to return, says Red Cross president

Inside the refugee camps of Rohingya Muslims who migrated to India and came to Hyderabad a couple of years ago.   | Photo Credit: G. Ramakrishna

Rohingya refugees shouldn't be repatriated to Myanmar without their will, said the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Thursday.

President Francesco Rocca’s comments come on a day Bangladesh scrapped its plan to return the first batch of nearly 2,200 Rohingya migrants to the country they fled last year following mass violence. Media reports quoted the country's Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam explaining the reason for the change in its stance. He said Rohingya refugees "are not willing to go back now."

"No one must be repatriated against their will. It is a fact that many lost their husband, wife, sons and daughters and will need time to heal," Mr Rocca told The Hindu on the sidelines of the Trust Conference in London.

Talking about India's role Mr Rocca said that "people who fled Rakhine must be protected".

He said that as a superior economic and political power in the region India had a huge responsibility to ensure stability and peace in the region.

In his speech at the Conference, the IFRC President said that to a large number of countries that are trying to externalise their borders and pushing back migrants the only thing that matters is national public opinion.

"Restrictive immigration policies are creating a new world order where barriers to basic services turn migration into a real humanitarian crisis".

He also criticised country's like the U.S. and others refusing to sign the United Nations global pact on migration at a conference to be held in Marrakech in Morocco on December 10 and 11.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration aims to boost international cooperation in addressing the growing number of migrants globally. It was approved by all UN members, except the U.S., in July this year. However, since then more countries like Hungary and Austria have expressed their reluctance to accept the agreement.

(The reporter attended the Trust Conference at the invitation of the Thomson Reuters Foundation)

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 8:28:03 AM |

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