Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh can begin returning to Myanmar on Thursday for a second repatriation period.
More than 740,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh after Myanmar began what the United Nations called an "ethnic cleaning" movement two years ago. Another 200,000 were already living there.
Many are afraid to return, however, fearing the same type of oppression and violence they fled.
Human Rights Watch said Wednesday any return for the Rohingya must be safe, voluntary and dignified. The first repatriation attempt failed 10 months ago because most refused to return to Myanmar.
The Myranmar government cleared this month for 3,450 Rohingyas to re-enter, but it's ultimately up to the refugees to decide.
"Those who express a wish to return will be invited for a second interview to ensure the voluntariness of their decision," said U.N. refugee agency spokesman Joseph Tripura.
Bangladeshi officials said the refugees will stay in transit camps, which were repaired after being damaged by recent rain. Many are likely still afraid to return, experts say. Some Rohingya staged protests after the repatriation plan was announced.
"Myanmar has yet to address the systematic persecution and violence against the Rohingya, so refugees have every reason to fear for their safety if they return," U.N. refugee agency official Meenakshi Ganguly said.