The Australian Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre has combined open-source data with the collection and analysis of new satellite imagery to assess the current status of settlements in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, which were burned, damaged or destroyed in 2017. As part of this research project we have also mapped camps and military bases constructed on the sites of former Rohingya settlements.
Our research does not support assertions that conditions are in place to support a safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to Rakhine State. Satellite analysis shows minimal preparation for a return of half a million refugees. The preparations that are being made raise significant concerns about the conditions under which returning Rohingya would be expected to live. The ongoing violence, instability, disruptions to internet and communications technologies and the lack of information about the security situation in Rakhine add to those concerns.
Our hope is that this research will add to the evidence base available to policymakers and relevant stakeholders about conditions in northern Rakhine, and Rakhine State more broadly, and that it will contribute to informed discussions about the best path towards a safe, dignified and sustainable future for the Rohingya refugees.