Rohingya in Bangladesh protest efforts to send them back to Myanmar

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"The human rights violations committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar amount to the worst atrocities, including crimes against humanity and possibly even genocide", Ms Bachelet said.

As Bangladesh and Myanmar have pursued various iterations of repatriation agreements, United Nations officials have repeatedly said they were not involved adequately in the process. He said officials "can't force them to go" but will continue to try to "motivate them so it happens". The official's statements feed the doubts about the departure of the first Rohingya group to the Burmese western state of Rakhine. "Returning refugees to a place where their rights will be routinely violated and where their lives will be at constant risk is unacceptable - and unconscionable", Nicholas Bequelin said.

"This repatriation is not going to be sustainable", said Abdur Rahim, a leader of Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights. It has said that it is ready to accept repatriated refugees and has accused Bangladesh of delaying the process.

Mr Pence also said that Washington wanted to see a free and democratic press in Myanmar, and the jailing of two journalists past year was "deeply troubling" for millions of Americans. "How they can say we are weak in physical arrangements?"

Selim said his wife and seven other family members went into hiding after finding out that they would be sent back Thursday.

"We have arranged everything for you, we have six buses here, we have trucks, we have food".

"It would be best that these are the first ones to be able to go back home, that their freedom of movement is not restricted, that they are able to get documentation in hand, and that they get out with their lives".

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"If we have to go back, that is our fate".

Mohammad Abul Kalam, commissioner of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission of Bangladesh, told that no Rohingya were willing to go back to Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The United Nations had urged Bangladesh to suspend the programme, with rights chief Michelle Bachelet saying it would send the Rohingya "back to the cycle of human rights violations that this community has been suffering for decades".

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption There's fear about the future in the camps Why are the Rohingya in Bangladesh? "We never return to Myanmar without citizenship and our rights", read one placard held by a youth.

She said other refugees whose names have appeared on the Bangladesh government's repatriation list had fled to other camps, hoping to disappear amid the crowded lanes of refugees, aid workers and Bangladeshi soldiers.

Kalam said about 2,260 refugees from 485 families would be sent back in an initial group.

On the other side of the border Myanmar officials also waited all day, said Myint Thu, permanent secretary at the foreign ministry.

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Bill Frelick, the refugee rights director for Human Rights Watch, said Dhaka "will be stunned to see how quickly worldwide opinion turns against it if it starts sending unwilling Rohingya refugees back into harm's way in Myanmar".

The huge exodus of Rohingya began in August past year after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown following attacks by an insurgent group on guard posts. US Vice President Mike Pence told Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday the violence against the Rohingya was "without excuse", adding pressure to Myanmar's civilian leader who this week had an Amnesty International honour revoked. Almost all have been denied citizenship since 1982, as well as access to education and hospitals. Most will also be unable to return to their original homes and villages because they were burned down by the military in the crackdown.

The Muslim Rohingya are one of the many ethnic minorities in Myanmar.

Access to education and employment has been far from assured.

The two countries had originally agreed to begin repatriating Rohingya to Rakhine State last January, but that was called off amid concerns among aid workers and the Rohingya that their safety wasn't guaranteed.

Rohingya began fleeing into Bangladesh after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown following attacks by an insurgent group on guard posts in August 2017.

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