Myanmar is not ready for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, said the most senior United Nations official to visit the country this year, after Myanmar was accused of instigating ethnic cleansing and driving nearly 700,000 Muslims to Bangladesh.
“From what I’ve seen and heard from people – no access to health services, concerns about protection, continued displacements – conditions are not conducive to return,” Ursula Mueller, U.N.’s Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said after a six-day visit to Myanmar.
A Myanmar government spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Mueller’s remarks.
The Myanmar government has previously pledged to do its best to make sure repatriation under an agreement signed with Bangladesh in November would be “fair, dignified and safe”.
Myanmar has so far verified several hundred Rohingya Muslim refugees for possible repatriation. The group would be “the first batch” of refugees and could come back to Myanmar “when it was convenient for them,” a Myanmar official said last month.