Myanmar to take back Rohingya from latest influxes only

Emmett Rice
October 4, 2017

"Talks were held in a peaceful manner", Minister AH Mahmood Ali said after the meeting at state guest house Padma.

On Monday, Myanmar's Minister of the Office of State Counselor, Kyaw Tint Swe, told Bangladesh his country was ready to return refugees subject to a verification process agreed in the early 1990s by the neighbors.

He said refugees would be verified by the joint working group, but without United Nations involvement.

Bangladeshi home minister will shortly visit Myanmar for discussion over the border management proposal, said Mahmood Ali.

A Myanmar official tally says hundreds of people died as violence consumed remote communities, including Rohingya.

Bangladesh, however, proposed a bilateral agreement to facilitate the repatriation process.

WFP reported on Sunday that it has so far distributed rice to some 460,000 refugees, and has also been providing high energy biscuits to more than 200,000 people as a one-off emergency measure when they arrive in the settlements and at border crossing points.

"The Home Minister will discuss with the Myanmar government regarding border security and border management issue", he said adding that four Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) are expected to be signed during the visit.

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Rohingya boys are pictured reaching for humanitarian aid near Balukhali, Bangladesh.

Those fleeing have described indiscriminate attacks by security forces and Buddhist mobs, including monks, as well as killings and rapes.

"We have referred implementation of the recommendation of the Kofi Annan Commission", said the foreign minister. To Rohingya refugees, this is just "drama".

More than 501,000 Rohingyas have crossed into Bangladesh since the outbreak of the most recent violence on August 25, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The problem was resolved through diplomatic initiatives in sixteen months. It allowed UNHCR to have free access to all refugee camps in day time.

It also urged a "safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of refugees to their area of origin".

"Nowhere is the link between statelessness and displacement more evident than with the Rohingya community of Myanmar, for whom denial of citizenship is a key aspect of the discrimination and exclusion that have shaped their plight", he said.

The refugees, who were arrested in April along with two suspected Indian traffickers in a boat in Sri Lankan seas, were taken into protective custody and then to a detention center outside Colombo following the protest on Tuesday.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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