Rohingya leaders at a refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Kutupalong have asked Myanmar to meet a list of their demands before sending them back to their country, Reuters reported on Friday.

They made their demands days after Bangladesh finalised an agreement with Myanmar, on January 16, to send back hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, who have been fleeing violence in their country since August 2017. The repatriation process will begin on January 23 and last two years.

Bangladesh said it proposed sending back 15,000 Rohingyas every week, but Myanmar agreed to take back 300 Rohingyas a day – or 1,500 a a week. Bangladesh also said orphans and “children born out of unwarranted incidence”, a reference to rapes that resulted in pregnancies, would be sent back.

Around six Rohingya elders, who said they represented 40 villages from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, showed their demands to a Reuters reporter at the refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Kutupalong. Most of the 6,55,500 Rohingya refugees are staying at this camp.

The petition, handwritten in Burmese, is yet to be finalised. Among them is a demand that the Myanmar government publicly announce that it is giving the Rohingyas citizenship – which they have long been denied. The government must also include the community on a list of the country’s recognised ethnic groups, they demanded.

The Rohingya want the Myanmar government to return the land they occupied rebuild their homes, mosques and schools. The community also wants the military to be held accountable for the alleged killing, looting and rape of Rohingyas during the violence that broke out in 2017.

Among other demands, it wants Myanmar to stop listing people as “terrorists” and posting their photographs in state media and on government Facebook pages.

The refugee crisis

The violence in the Rakhine state in Myanmar erupted on August 25, after a militant attack got security forces conducting a violent crackdown in the state. Lakhs of Rohingya have since fled to Bangladesh, where they have been living in cramped refugee camps.

Several international organisations have condemned the violence.

The United Nations and the United States called it an “ethnic cleansing” of the Muslim minority, while the Human Rights Watch said the Myanmar military massacred people and raped, arbitrarily arrested and set ablaze hundreds of predominantly Rohingya villages in the country’s Rakhine state.