Boris Johnson calls for safe return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar

Boris Johnson calls for safe return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar

Boris Johnson calls for safe return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar

Boris Johnson has met Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi for talks amid the Rohingya refugee crisis.

On Saturday Mr Johnson visited refugee families in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, where many have fled to from alleged state persecution.

Their plight has sparked global alarm over withering press freedoms in Myanmar and government efforts to curb reporting in northern Rakhine state - where troops are accused of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims.

Media captionMyanmar must find a safe and dignified way for Rohingya Muslims to return, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said.

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More than 500,000 refugees are now living in Cox's Bazar camp in Bangladesh - equivalent in size to Leicester.

I have seen for my own eyes the horrendous living conditions the Rohingya people are having to endure and it has only further strengthened my commitment to working with worldwide partners to improve the lives of these people in 2018.

Almost 690,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state and crossed into southern Bangladesh since August, when attacks on security posts by insurgents triggered a military crackdown that the United Nations has said may amount to genocide.

Rohingya refugees sheltering in Bangladesh must be allowed to return to their homes in safety, Boris Johnson has warned.

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Myanmar and Bangladesh have inked a deal to bring back refugees, but repatriation has yet to begin.

But aid agencies have expressed concern over the projected figures for the transfer - Myanmar has agreed to accept 1,500 Rohingya each week; Bangladesh says it aims to return everyone within two years.

The foreign secretary paid tribute to the "hospitality and compassion" of the Bangladeshi government in providing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya community, but emphasised refugee rights must be respected.

Johnson and Aung San Suu Kyi "discussed in an open and friendly manner the latest developments in Rakhine State, including planning for the reception of returnees who fled", the Burmese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a Facebook post.

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