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Myanmar (Burma): Update to Information Request BUR24671.E of 24 July 1996 on the treatment of the Rohingya people by the Burmese authorities

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 October 1997
Citation / Document Symbol BUR28023.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Myanmar (Burma): Update to Information Request BUR24671.E of 24 July 1996 on the treatment of the Rohingya people by the Burmese authorities, 1 October 1997, BUR28023.E, available at: [accessed 25 May 2023]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


In 1996, approximately 23,000 Rohingya Muslims were repatriated from Bangladesh to Burma (World Refugee Survey 1997 1997,111). According to Country Reports 1996, returnees complained of travel restrictions imposed on them by the Burmese government (1996, 604) and the Human Rights Watch Report 1997 corroborates this when it states that " in addition, the Burmese government implemented new restrictions on travel, requiring all Rohingyas (including returnees) to stay within their village boundaries," (1997, 141).

According to the World Refugee Survey 1997, the UNHCR asserted that it was adequately monitoring the well-being of the Rohingya returnees but critics doubted this because of the small number of UNHCR protection staff in Burma, the  inability of UNHCR staff to reach remote areas and the use of interpreters by the UNHCR who answered to the authorities (1997, 111). Please consult the World Refugee Survey 1997  available at the Regional Documentation Centres for additional information.

According to the Human Rights Watch Report 1997, the Burmese authorities "continued to refuse to acknowledge the Rohingyas as full citizens, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and racial harassment," (1997, 141). Please consult the Amnesty International  and Human Rights Watch Reports 1997 for additional information on the treatment of the Rohingyas by the Burmese authorities. Further detailed information on the treatment of the Rohingyas can be found in the September 1996 Human Rights Watch/Asia Report entitled " The Rohingya Muslims-Ending a Cycle of Exodus?" available at the Regional Documentation Centres. Please consult the attached articles for additional information.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996. 1997. United States Department of State. Washington, DC. United States Government Printing Office.

Human Rights Watch (HRW). Human Rights Watch World Report 1997. New York: Human Rights Watch.

US Committee for Refugees (USCR). 1997. World Refugee Survey 1997. Washington, DC: USCR.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 28 July 1997. "All Burmese Moslem Refugees to be Repatriated: Bangladesh." (NEXIS).

_____. 16 August 1997. "Return of 21,000 Burmese Refugees Uncertain as a Deadline Expires." (NEXIS).

Additional Sources Consulted

Asian Profile. [Hong Kong]. 1996 to present.

Asian Survey.[Hong Kong]. 1996 to present

Asiaweek. [Berkeley, Calif.] 1996 to present.

Electronic sources: IRB Databases, Global News Bank, LEXIS/NEXIS, REFWORLD (UNHCR database).

Resource Centre Country File (Burma). 1996 to present.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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