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February 28, 2018

Repatriation of refugees to commence next Tuesday

Officials from Myanmar and Bangladesh discuss the repatriation of refugees at a meeting in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA
Officials from Myanmar and Bangladesh discuss the repatriation of refugees at a meeting in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA

A repatriation plan was signed yesterday that will allow the return of Muslims who fled to Bangladesh to escape conflict in Myanmar last year, following a meeting of the neighbouring countries in Nay Pyi Taw.
Myanmar would receive the returnees who fled Rakhine State five days per week, according to the statement released by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The first meeting of the Joint Working Group on the Repatriation of Displaced Myanmar Residents from Bangladesh was held on Monday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and continued yesterday.
The Myanmar delegation was led by U Myint Thu, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar. The Bangladeshi delegation was led by Mr. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh. The Physical Arrangement for Repatriation of Displaced Myanmar Residents from Bangladesh under the Return of the Displaced Persons from Rakhine State agreement was signed by the two sides yesterday.
According to the Physical Arrangement agreement, Myanmar will receive verified returnees at Taung Pyo Letwe reception centre for those who will be dispatched by land routes, and Nga Khu Ya reception centre for those who will be sent back by river routes.
Myanmar side will also use Hla Pho Kaung as transit camp for the returnees. Bangladesh will establish five transit camps. Myanmar will receive the returnees five days per week. Bangladesh will provide, in advance, the list of prospective returnees and duly filled verification forms to Myanmar side for smooth verification process, according to the agreement.
At the end of the meeting, Myanmar provided to Bangladesh detailed lists of 508 persons of Hindu faith and 750 persons of Muslim faith who have been verified as Myanmar residents and suggested the latter to include them in the first batch of repatriation.
Both sides agreed that the repatriation process will commence on 23 January.
The meeting also deliberated on the current activities of ARSA terrorists. Myanmar had already provided a list of over 1,000 ARSA terrorists to Bangladesh at the BGP-BGB Central Meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw on 14 November 2017.
During the JWG meeting, Myanmar handed over the list to the Bangladesh delegation and requested that they be extradited in compliance with the Agreement on Border Arrangement and Cooperation (Border Ground Rules) signed in 1980. Myanmar also spoke of preventive measures to be taken in anticipation of possible attacks by ARSA terrorists during the course of the repatriation process. The crisis in Rakhine State erupted after Islamic terrorist attacks on security posts on 25 August. — GNLM

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