MOSCOW - The repatriation plan for Rohingya refugees proposed by the Myanmar and Bangladeshi governments and set for mid-November should be suspended due to the threat to refugees’ lives and their liberties if returned to Myanmar, a prominent rights watchdog said in a statement on Friday.

“Myanmar’s government keeps talking about returns, but it has done nothing to allay the Rohingya’s fears of being returned to the same violence and oppression they fled. If Bangladesh moves forward on repatriations without the UN, it will squander the international goodwill it has accrued over the past year as a host to Rohingya refugees,” director of Human Rights Watch’s refugee program Bill Frelick said.

On October 30, the authorities of Bangladesh and Myanmar met in Dhaka, where they reached an agreement to begin the repatriation of some 700,000 ethnic Rohingya who had fled to Bangladesh because of persecution. It was announced that the sides had developed a “very concrete plan” to start repatriations in mid-November. The first stage of repatriation will include 2,260 Rohingya from 485 families.

According to the report, the repatriation plan was developed without any consultation and consent from Rohingya refugees and in violation of international standards. The UN has rejected the proposal calling it “rushed and premature.”

Rohingya refugees interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they will return home only if their safety could be ensured. The report stressed that so far the Myanmar government yet made no efforts to create conditions for safe and dignified returns.

It also points out that recent Rohingya arrivals in Bangladesh have reported killings, burnings, forced disappearances, extortion, and restrictions on movement. The statement highlights that authorities in Myanmar have detained and tortured Rohingya who returned from Bangladesh in the past year.

The Rohingya people are an ethnic Muslim minority, with the majority living in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The government of Myanmar denies the Rohingya citizenship. Rohingya started leaving Myanmar for Bangladesh after the military launched a crackdown on insurgents belonging to the Rohingya ethnic group following an attack on police posts in the northern part of Rakhine on August 25, 2017.