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September 20, 2019

Myanmar ready to resolve Rakhine issue based upon agreement with Bangladesh

In order to accelerate the repatriation process, Myanmar will dispatch a team of high-level officials, accompanied by representatives of ASEAN and the AHA Centre to Bangladesh, to explain to the displaced persons about preparations that have been made for their return.
Myanmar has already provided Bangladesh with the village-wise list of verified displaced persons, separated into seven groups for smooth repatriation, which reflects Myanmar’s readiness to accept the voluntary return of displaced persons to Myanmar in a safe and dignified manner.
Hence, Bangladesh should make returnees ready, family-wise and village-wise, for repatriation from those verified lists, and repatriation of the first batch of verified displaced persons to Myanmar should follow the bilateral agreements between the two countries.
If both neighbours follow the arrangements, repatriation can be a success.
The main obstacle for the repatriation is the presence of hardline groups inside Bangladesh who do not want repatriation, but want to increase international pressure to create a so-called “Safe Zone” to advance their political agenda.
Myanmar is taking firm steps to resolve the Rakhine issue.
But steps, including building trust and harmony between the two communities in Rakhine State, takes time and space, since the Rakhine issue is a complex one.
It is both a political and economic issue, involving cross-border irregular migration since colonial time, along with poverty, and a lack of rule of law and security.
There had also been a deep rooted history of tensions, mutual mistrust and fear between the ethnic communities of Rakhine and the migrant communities. It will take time to educate both communities to live harmoniously, as people of different faiths are living in peace and harmony throughout Myanmar.
Religious edifices of different faiths stand side by side in many cities in Myanmar. It is of utmost importance to try to understand different narratives, the historical facts and complete information about this communal conflict before making a judgement on the issue.
Myanmar is creating a conducive environment for the returnees, in cooperation with UN agencies and our ASEAN team. The trilateral MoU with UNDP and UNHCR was extended last May, and access has been given to over eighty villages in Rakhine State during their four rounds of field assessments.
In these efforts, we would welcome willing partners who sincerely wish to see a sustainable resolution of the issue. Myanmar stands ready to resolve the issue with the cooperation of Bangladesh, based on the previously reached bilateral agreement.

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