Myanmar and Bangladesh set 2-year goal for Rohingya return

17 January, 2018, 02:12 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Seven ethnic Rakhine killed as Myanmar police fire on riot

Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to repatriate 650,000 Rohingya refugees, who fled Myanmar's crisis-hit Rakhine province, in two years, according to an agreement signed between the two countries.

Rohingya refugees carry bricks at Palong Khali camp, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

Myanmar says it wants repatriations to start as soon as possible.

Bangladesh's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that a joint working group from the two countries finalized an agreement on Monday in Naypyidaw on physical arrangements for the ethnic Rohingya's repatriation.

During the meeting, Bangladesh had proposed to repatriate at least 15,000 Rohingyas every week but Myanmar rejected the proposal. The working group officials also discussed the possibility of further ARSA attacks, which could undermine the repatriation process.

The Rohingya crisis erupted after insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), better know locally as the Harakah al-Yaqin (faith movement in Arabic), attacked security posts on August 25 in the western state of Rakhine, triggering a fierce military response that the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing.

A UNHCR spokesman said on Tuesday the Rohingya should return voluntarily only when they feel it is safe to do so.

The new initiative aims at supporting the identification and registration of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, at facilitating the provision of humanitarian support, as well as at ensuring the better protection of particularly vulnerable individuals. The reader's can rely on the content at their own will. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability, data, text, images, video, messages, or any other material whatsoever or for any claims/loss/action that the reader may suffer as a result of relying on the content on our site.

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The Bangladeshi side says it's happy for the moment, but that Myanmar's government needs to rebuild trust.

However, the Rohingya are not one of them, having been routinely denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982.

They live in what is being described as the "world's biggest refugee camp".

There are more than 3,00,000 Rohingyas living in Bangladesh, who fled in earlier waves of violence from the Myanmarese Government since the last three decades.

Noor Alam, 37, who came to Kutupalong five months back, wondered if he could ever get a job in Myanmar. "Some 1,500 Rohingyas will be sent back in a week".

She said that the causes of the crisis, such as the Rohingya's legal and citizenship status, need to be addressed to ensure peace and security in Rakhine State. "Modalities for repatriation of orphans and children born out of unwarranted incidence have been incorporated in the said Arrangement".

The United Nations has called the violence against civilians "ethnic cleansing", but the Myanmarese Government rejected the claims.

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