Violence against the Rohingyas in Myanmar’s Rakhine state

Published: 27 October 2017 Author: Stefan Talmon

The Muslim Rohingya are an ethnic minority who have lived for centuries in Myanmar’s western state of Rhakine. The Rohingya are denied citizenship in mainly Buddhist Myanmar and have been the object of repeated violent attacks by Buddhist nationalists and the State security forces. In a report released on 24 August 2017, the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan identified the issue of citizenship rights as “a broad concern, and a major impediment to peace and prosperity in Rakhine.”

On 25 August 2017, Rohingya militants attacked police and army posts in the border region with Bangladesh killing several members of the security forces. These attacks led to a fresh outbreak of violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine state which caused hundreds of thousands of them to flee their homes and cross the border into Bangladesh. The government of Myanmar said it was fighting insurgents but those who fled said troops and Rakhine Buddhists are conducting a brutal campaign to drive them from their homes. They accused local Buddhist mobs, backed by government forces, of burning their villages. Myanmar’s government, on the other hand, claimed that the Rohingyas were burning their own homes.

Ob 6 September 2017, Germany condemned the violence in Myanmar and called for the repatriation of refugees as soon as possible. In a statement the Government said: (more…)

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Loss of refugee status by going on holiday to the country of persecution

Published: 29 August 2017 Author: Stefan Talmon

Responding to media reports that refugees had been “going on holiday” in the countries from where they fled persecution, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview published on 27 August 2017:

“I can imagine difficult family situations where a return for a few days is understandable. Actually going on holiday in the country in which one is being persecuted is not on. If this is done anyway, this can be a reason to re-examine the asylum decision.”

This statement is in line with the position taken by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). According to section 72, paragraph 1a, of the Asylum Act, recognition of refugee status shall cease to have effect if the foreigner “voluntarily returns to or settles in the country he left or stayed away from for fear of persecution”. However, a return to the country of persecution does not automatically lead to the cessation of refugee status. The Asylum Act has to be interpreted in line with European law which requires a decision on a case-by-case basis for the withdrawl of international protection. For the decision to withdraw refugee status, the BAMF distinguishes between the various reasons for the return to the country of persecution. The BAMF takes the position that (more…)

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