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Safe return needed for Rohingya refugees – Johnson

The Foreign Secretary said displaced people should go back to Burma when the conditions are right.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called for Rohingya Muslim refugees to be able to return to Burma safely and with dignity.

Mr Johnson made the intervention as he visited a refugee camp at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, ahead of talks with Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday.

The Foreign Secretary said: “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 international partners to improve the lives of these people in 2018.

“I pay tribute to the hospitality and compassion shown by the government of Bangladesh, who are facing an enormous challenge in providing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya community.

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Foreign Secretary to hold talks with Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday (Paul Faith/PA)

“While I welcome steps by both the Burmese and Bangladeshi governments towards ensuring that these people can return home, it is vital that the Rohingya refugees must be allowed to their homes in Rakhine voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, under international oversight, and when the conditions in Burma are right.”

More than 600,000 men, women and children are estimated to have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh following persecution from the Burmese military in their native state of Rakhine, which began in August.

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