An aerial view shows burned down villages once inhabited by the Rohingya seen from the Myanmar military helicopters that carried the U.N. envoys to northern Rakhine state, Myanmar, May 1, 2018. Picture taken on May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Michelle Nichols
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Rohingya refugees who return to Myanmar will be safe as long as they stay in the model villages built for them, the country's army chief has said, renewing fears they will be kept in settlements indefinitely.Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to repatriate refugees to conflict-hit Rakhine state last year but Rohingya are loathe to come back to a country without guarantees of safety and basic rights such as freedom of movement.The government has built transit camps that can accommodate tens of thousands of people and a much smaller number of new houses to replace fire-blackened villages where Rohingya used to live.The minority community has been persecuted in Myanmar for decades and Rohingya have lived in what rights groups have called apartheid-like conditions, with severe restrictions on movement and access to health services.
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