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Japan urges Suu Kyi to ensure Rohingya's safe return

13 January 2018

Japanese foreign minister yesterday urged Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to guarantee the safe and voluntary return of Rohingyas who have fled violence in troubled Rakhine state.

Suu Kyi's statement comes after the country's Army, for the first time on Wednesday, admitted that it carried out extrajudicial killings of a group of Rohingyas, whose bodies had been discovered in a mass grave in the Rakhine State in western Myanmar.

According to an agreement signed by Myanmar and Bangladesh in November 2017, Myanmar is scheduled to begin repatriations of refugees by January 22.

In response to Myanmar's military's admission of killing Rohingyas, Amnesty International said on Thursday that the confession is just the "tip of the iceberg".

More than 650,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape a brutal crackdown in which security forces have been accused of systematic abuses tantamount to ethnic cleansing.

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The Rakhine state is home to a majority of Muslims in Myanmar, who have been denied citizenship and long faced persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, especially from the extremists.

Saturday's report says Suu Kyi said: "It is a positive indication that we are taking the steps to be responsible".

Aung San Suu Kyi thanked Japan for its support after the country announced on Friday it would give a total of 23 million dollars, subject to parliamentary approval, for rehabilitation of refugees and improving humanitarian conditions in Rakhine State. "The money will be paid in a timely manner based on the progress of repatriation", Yamaguchi added.

More than 600,000 Rohingya, who are not recognised by the Myanmar government as one of the country's many ethnic groups, have fled to Bangladesh since August a year ago, when violence between armed Rohingya and Myanmar security forces prompted a severe crackdown.

Japan urges Suu Kyi to ensure Rohingya's safe return