Statement on return agreement of refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh

Bangladesh Myanmar refugees

In response to the recent agreement on the return of refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh, CARE is urging both the Government of Bangladesh and the Government of the Union of Myanmar to ensure that any refugee returns to Myanmar are voluntary, informed, respectful and conducted in safety and dignity. CARE’s work with refugees globally underlines the importance of ensuring that all returns must be based on well-informed voluntary decisions and international standards must be upheld at the time when a voluntary return of refugees becomes possible. Furthermore, returns will only be possible if there are no significant ongoing security risk in the area of return.

Given the extreme levels of violence refugees have experienced, returns in the near future will be extremely challenging. Most of the refugees who have fled Myanmar in the past three months are traumatized and have lost everything, including family members and homes. Most have no home to return to as entire villages were burnt down. CARE urges both governments to ensure these challenges are recognized in ongoing negotiations and that the key principle of ‘non-refoulement’ is upheld. One way of doing this is to consult with affected communities as processes are developed, as well as keeping both the national and international humanitarian community informed of the support that will be needed to ensure safe, successful returns.

Following the recent influx of over 620,000 refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh, ongoing aid efforts will be vital and need to continue alongside the political discussions. The speed and scale of the influx of refugees has resulted in a critical humanitarian situation. The vast majority of refugees are reliant on humanitarian assistance for food, shelter, health and other life-saving needs.

CARE has so far reached over 130,000 refugees with food, relief items and assistance for gender-based violence and will continue to provide support to those in need.


CARE has spokespeople available in Canada and Bangladesh available to comment on this crisis. Contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada | 613-228-5641

You can help CARE ensure life-saving support is available for families fleeing Myanmar. As part of the Government of Canada's matching fund and in partnership with the Humanitarian Coalition, donations will be doubled until November 28, 2017.