Rohingya returns to Myanmar must not be rushed or premature: UNHCR

Rohingya refugee girl reacts to the camera as they apply Thanaka paste in the Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, October 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday that conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine state were “not yet conducive for returns”, after Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to start repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya by mid-November.

“It is critical that returns are not rushed or premature,” UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic told Reuters, noting that any returns must also be voluntary. “We would advise against imposing any timetable or target figures for repatriation.”

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Tom Miles