UN rights chief urges halt to Rohingya repatriation plan

UN rights chief urges halt to Rohingya repatriation plan
In this photograph taken Aug. 28, 2018, sewer water flows in the back as Rohingya refugees cross a makeshift bamboo bridge at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh. Access to medical care has changed for the better in the refugee camps in Bangladesh, yet many Rohingya still seek out their faith healers. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) (Altaf Qadri)

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. human rights chief says Bangladesh's government should halt plans to repatriate more than 2,200 Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar, saying such a move would endanger their lives.

Michelle Bachelet's comments are among the strongest yet from a top U.N. official about the planned repatriation this week of some Rohingya to Myanmar. More than 700,000 fled Myanmar amid a security crackdown starting in August 2017.

Bachelet's office said Tuesday it continues to receive reports of rights violations in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state, "which include allegations of killings, disappearances and arbitrary arrests." It said some 130,000 people, including many Rohingya, remain internally displaced in central Rakhine.

UNHCR advised against the returns, saying Monday that safety should be assessed first. But it didn't call for a halt to the repatriation plans.