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Seven killed as Burma Police open fire to disperse protesters

Seven killed as Burma Police open fire to disperse protesters

At least eight ethnic Rakhine protestors were killed by police in Myanmar's volatile Rakhine State on Tuesday.

"Previous episodes of displacement and return of the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities, over the last 20 years do not inspire confidence", it added.

The UN refugee agency said it is not involved in the process but is willing to play a "constructive role" in the process if allowed, specifically in registering the refugees and helping determining whether they are returning to Burma voluntarily. But it said the return effort envisages "considering the family as a unit", with Myanmar to provide temporary shelter for those returning before rebuilding houses for them.

Under the current agreement, about 156,000 Rohingya would be repatriated in two years - far short of the 650,000 who have taken refuge in Bangladesh. "So it has to be safe and voluntary", she said. Rohingya say security forces, backed by hardline Rakhine mobs, torched hundreds of Rohingya villages and forced them to flee. "We will be, of course, ready to do everything possible, to support a movement taking place, as I said, based on voluntariness, safety, dignity, and in respect to global standards", he said, adding that the United Nations or its UNHRC was not involved in the agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the issue.

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Since the November agreement, Myanmar's civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has pledged to take measures to halt the outflow of Rohingya to Bangladesh and restore normalcy in the Rakhine region.

Myanmar army started a crack-down on Rohingya militants on 25 August past year following insurgent attacks on security posts, triggering an exodus of Muslims from the Rakhine state to Bangladesh. Myanmar's army described it as "clearance operations" against terrorists, but the UN and the United States have called it "ethnic cleansing". It would be the first camp built in the repatriation process.

Myint Kyaing, permanent secretary at Myanmar's Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, told Reuters earlier this month Myanmar would be ready to begin processing least 150 people a day through each of the two camps by January 23.

The killings have been condemned by Amnesty International, with James Gomez, the rights group's director for Southeast Asia, saying it is a clear case of excessive use of force.

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