Rohingya repatriation postponed to next month: Bangladeshi official

Repatriation of Rohingyas

Mr. Richardson said he got into an argument with Ms. Suu Kyi during a meeting on Monday with other members of the board, when he brought up the case of two Reuters reporters who are on trial accused of breaching the country's Officials Secrets Act.

Richardson criticized Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi for her lack of "moral leadership" amid the crisis; the Nobel laureate and democracy icon has come under increasing censure for her failure to stop or denounce military atrocities committed against the Rohingya.

"Freedom of the press to report the facts is a fundamental bedrock of democracy", he added.

The Advisory Board on Rakhine State was set up to implement recommendations regarding the Rohingya, Myanmar's brutally persecuted minority group, that were made by an advisory commission in 2017 led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

His resignation raises serious questions about how the global community deals with the possible repatriation of 680,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled the country.

Rohingya witnesses and human rights activists have accused the armed forces of committing murder, rape and arson in a campaign the United Nations and the USA maintain is ethnic cleansing.

Since late August, more than 688,000 Rohingyas have arrived in Cox's Bazar alone, marking the largest mass refugee movement in the region in decades.

"She blames all the problems that Myanmar is having on the global media, on the United Nations, on human rights groups, on other governments, and I think this is caused by the bubble that is around her, by individuals that are not giving her frank advice", Richardson, once a close friend of Suu Kyi, said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press news agency in Yangon.

Kalam said Bangladesh is putting its best efforts to hasten the entire repatriation process as early as possible by preparing paperwork for returning refugees and building camps.

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A separate statement from the nine remaining members of the advisory board on Thursday said they met this week "with open minds" and agreed "to speak with one voice".

"Governor Richardson's decision to resign from the Rakhine Advisory Board, and the reasons he gave for doing so, are cause for concern", spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Grandi went on to list several essential details that have yet to be discussed ahead of the repatriation, including the issue of citizenship, the rights of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State and access to services.

Bangladesh on Tuesday delayed the repatriation of the largely stateless Rohingya to Myanmar as the process of compiling and verifying the list of people to be sent back was incomplete. "But I discovered that this board was being used as a cheerleading squad for the government".

Richardson said that after three days of advisory board meetings it had "become clear that I can not in good conscience serve in this role".

Tensions have soared in recent days in the overcrowded Bangladeshi camps housing the Rohingya with many refugees refusing to return to Myanmar.

The Rohingya have always been considered stateless, falling outside the list of national ethnicities that were included with the passing of the 1982 Burma Citizenship Law.

The two countries have signed an agreement to begin sending people home in "safety, security and dignity", but rights groups have expressed worry about Rohingya returning to villages they left only months ago in terror.

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