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'Major challenges' face repatriation of Rohingya Muslims

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'Major challenges' face repatriation of Rohingya Muslims

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The UN refugee agency has warned ‘major challenges’ must be overcome as a plan is announced to repatriate some 1,500 Rohingya Muslims per week from Bangladesh to Myanmar.

The UNHCR says the 'right of refugees to voluntarily return home' is essential, adding that the Rohingya must be informed about the situation in their areas of origin.

Grave concern has been expressed by the UK’s International Development Committee. In a statement it said there needs to be a clear understanding of the legal status of those displaced, their interim and/or final destination and whether or not they had volunteered for the return trip.

The process, which is to start next Tuesday (January 23, 2018), is expected to take two years. It comes as UNICEF warns that the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of displaced Rohingya children are at an even greater risk with the approach of the monsoon and cyclone season in the region.

It claims that what is already a dire humanitarian situation, risks becoming catastrophic.