The gradual return of Rohingya Muslim refugees to Myanmar from Bangladesh has been suspended.
Originally repatriation will begin on Tuesday (23/1). It is unclear when the process will start.
Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh recently completed an agreement to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled from Myanmar to avoid brutal repression by the military.
Abdul Kalam, Rehabilitation and Relief Commissioner Bangladesh refugees, told the Associated Press, "The main thing is the evacuation process should be voluntary."
Relief workers and Rohingyas are concerned that refugees will be forced to return to the place from which they fled a few months ago.
David Mathieson, a human rights researcher who has worked for many years to tackle Rohingya's problems, says the governments of both countries are fantasizing. He said, "now we expect them back, as if they welcomed him with great joy after what the government did against them?"
Many of the refugees are unhappy with the possibility of returning to Myanmar.
All Rohingya villages in Myanmar have burned down. In addition, Rohingya refugees informed human rights workers about the atrocities committed by Myanmar's security forces, including blind shootings, rape and the complete destruction of their homes and villages. [gp]