Bangladesh, Myanmar consider repatriation of Rohingya refugees

Rohingya Muslim refugees walk through Balukhali refugee camp on Monday. The UN says more than 14,100 children are at risk of dying from malnutrition in wretched camps where half a million mainly Rohingya refugees depend entirely on charities for survival. (AFP)
Updated 03 October 2017

Bangladesh, Myanmar consider repatriation of Rohingya refugees

DHAKA: Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to form a joint panel for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.
The decision came in a meeting in Dhaka between Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A. H. Mahmud Ali and Myanmar’s Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe.
“Myanmar has proposed taking back Rohingya refugees. We’ve agreed on forming a joint working group to oversee the repatriation process,” Ali said after the meeting.
More than half a million Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, amid atrocities committed by the Myanmar Army.
During the meeting, Bangladesh proposed a treaty with Myanmar to ensure the smooth repatriation of Rohingya refugees.
The draft of the treaty was handed to the Myanmar delegation. The date for launching the joint working group is yet to be announced.
Asif Munir, a Dhaka-based migration expert, said: “In any joint working group or bilateral treaty, there should be a provision for inclusion of a neutral third party like an international observer body, so in case of any disagreements at the negotiation table they can mitigate the situation.”
He added: “The situation in (Myanmar’s) Rakhine state will be one of the prime concerns for this joint working group. Repatriation depends on this. We have to make sure there’s a peaceful environment for Rohingya in Rakhine.
“The panel members need to visit Rakhine to see whether peace prevails there. Similarly, they’ll also pay a visit to refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar to see how Bangladesh is delivering humanitarian services to the Rohingya.”
Myanmar’s Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister Dr. Win Myat Aye told the Myanmar Times: “We are considering the repatriation of thousands of Muslim refugees as fast as possible based on the 1993 Myanmar-Bangladesh agreement.”
Under that deal, “all those carrying Myanmar identity cards,” those able to present “other documents issued by relevant Myanmar authorities,” all those “able to furnish evidence of their residence in Myanmar,” and “all those willing to return to Myanmar” will be eligible to do so.

Man suspected of killing wife, three children in Australia fire

Updated 20 February 2020

Man suspected of killing wife, three children in Australia fire

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country was ‘shocked, saddened and devastated’ by the tragedy
  • A passer-by who tried to intervene in the situation was also taken to hospital to be treated for facial burns

SYDNEY: An ex-rugby league player is suspected of murdering his three children and estranged wife in Australia by burning them alive inside their car, in what police described as one of the most horrific incidents they have encountered.

Officers said 31-year-old Hannah Clarke died in a Brisbane hospital on Wednesday just hours after her three children aged three, four and six were found dead in the car on a suburban street.

Her husband, Rowan Baxter, who also died, allegedly approached the vehicle and doused it with petrol before setting it alight, The Australian newspaper reported.

The paper said Clarke jumped from the burning car and rolled on the ground, saying “he’s poured petrol on me.”

Officials said she was rushed to hospital with severe burns following the “horrific” incident but later succumbed to her injuries.

Baxter, a 42-year-old former rugby league player for the New Zealand Warriors, was believed to be in the burning vehicle but got out and died on a footpath.

Queensland Police detective inspector Mark Thompson said Thursday that Baxter died as a result of burns and a self-inflicted wound.

“Information that’s to hand has led us to believe that the Baxter children and Hannah Clarke were killed and I don’t believe there’s any suspicious circumstances around the death of Rowan Baxter,” he said.

Clarke’s sister-in-law, Stacey Roberts, set up a fundraiser to pay for funeral costs and support Hannah’s parents, who she said had “exhausted themselves to try and help Hannah escape this monster.”

“All those who knew Hannah or had even just met her once would know how much of a beautiful soul she was. Her children (were) her life,” Roberts posted on Facebook.

The page has so far raised almost Aus$100,000 ($67,000).

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country was “shocked, saddened and devastated” by the tragedy, which has led to an outpouring of grief on social media.

“Hannah and her three children were so senselessly and maddeningly murdered in what has occurred in a terrible act of violence and it just grieves our hearts terribly today,” he said.

Natasha Stott Despoja, a former senator and chair of anti-violence group Our Watch, called for stronger action to address violence against women in Australia, which she described as a “national emergency.”

“I know people want change, people are angry & sad today,” she tweeted. “How long before we stop this slaughter in our suburbs?“

A passer-by who tried to intervene in the situation was also taken to hospital to be treated for facial burns, a Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson said.

The emergency responders who attended the scene have been stood down from their duties and will receive support, he added.