Health Desk: 15 April 2018: Myanmar's government said it has “repatriated” the first family of Rohingya refugees, among the 700,000 who fled a brutal crackdown, but the move was slammed by rights groups as a publicity stunt which ignored warnings over the security of returnees.
"The five members of a family... came back to Taungpyoletwei town repatriation camp in Rakhine state this morning," said a statement posted on the official Facebook page of the government's Information Committee.
Bangladesh's refugee commissioner, Mohammad Abul Kalam, told AFP the Rohingya family had been living in a camp erected on a patch of "no man's land" between the two countries.
The stateless Muslim minority has been massing in squalid refugee camps across the border in Bangladesh since the Myanmar army launched a ruthless campaign against the community in northern Rakhine state last August.
The United Nations says the operation amounts to ethnic cleansing, but Myanmar has denied the charge, saying its troops targeted Rohingya militants.
Bangladesh and Myanmar vowed to begin repatriation in January but the plan has been repeatedly delayed as both sides blame the other for a lack of preparation.
According to a Myanmar government statement posted late Saturday, one family of refugees became the first to be processed in newly-built reception centres earlier in the day.
Immigration authorities provided the group with National Verification Cards, a form of ID that falls short of citizenship and has been rejected by many Rohingya leaders who want full rights before they return, the government confirmed.
Courtesy: AFP, Yangon