Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh, who have fled ethnic cleansing in neighboring Myanmar, say they fear torture and violence back home and would rather die than be repatriated.
Members of the persecuted ethnic minority were being sent by authorities in Bangladesh, along with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), back to Myanmar on Thursday.
Having surveyed more than 3,000 refugees from a list of 3,454 approved for return, UNHCR officials found out that the Rohingya were deeply opposed to the repatriation, with one saying he would rather “drink poison” than be returned to Myanmar’s northwestern state of Rahkine.
“With nothing but our lives, we came to Bangladesh. Here in Bangladesh, we have shelter now, we have a little peace. Now they want to send us back,” Sabbir Ahmaed, a Rohingya refugee, told Reuters.
“It is better to kill us here, but don’t send us to that country of brutal people. Better to give us poison, I will die drinking that poison, I will take poison, but will not go back,” he added.
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine to neighboring Bangladesh following a military-led crackdown in 2017 that the UN has said was perpetrated with “genocidal intent.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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