Thursday, January 17, 2019 | ePaper

Myanmar urges Bangladesh to begin repatriation of 2223 refugees soon

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Myanmar Times :
Myanmar urged Bangladesh to repatriate as soon as possible 2223 refugees who have been approved out of the more than 8000 names submitted for repatriation by Dhaka a few months ago, a senior official of the Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Ministry said on Sunday.  U Ko Ko Naing, director general of the ministry, said the number included 1001 refugees, most of them Muslim, that were approved on May 2 from the list of 8000 names submitted by Bangladesh for repatriation. Also,  the two countries agreed to repatriate 778 Muslims and 444 Hindu refugees a few months back. 
U Ko Ko Naing, who is a member of the Joint Working Group, said during a meeting with his counterpart in Dhaka last week that Myanmar restated to Bangladesh its readiness to begin the repatriation.
"We told them what we must insist on starting repatriation. We expressed our readiness," he said.
He added the date of the repatriation could not be fixed yet as the process is extremely complex and difficult despite there have been no disagreement over it.
During the meeting, both sides shared views about safety and security of the repatriation process as well as ensuring a conducive environment and involvement of the United Nations agencies in the resettlement, said U Ko Ko Naing. "We are to sign with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and UN Development Programme an agreement, and the repatriation would be faster after we sign it," he added.
The Joint Working Group of Myanmar and Bangladesh met on Thursday in Dhaka in a bid to resolve the deadlock on the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled from strife-torn northern Rakhine. The Myanmar delegation was led by Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs U Myint Thu, accompanied by senior officials from the Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Ministry.
Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement in November last year to repatriate an estimated 700,000 Muslims who fled to northern Rakhine after two deadly attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on government security forces in the past two years and a brutal military counterinsurgency campaign heavily criticised by the international community.

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