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2 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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ROHINGYA REPATRIATION

Beginning to take time: RRRC chief

Not one rather list of 8 lakh being prepared, he says
HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN

It will take time to begin the repatriation of the hundreds of thousands of persecuted Rohingyas as the preparation of the list of persecuted people has not yet been completed, the chief of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) based in Cox’s Bazar told The Independent yesterday. When repeatedly pressed for a timeline to complete the preparation of the list that will kick off the repatriation, Abul Kalam would not provide any specific timeframe repeatedly pointing out that it is a time-consuming exercise.

Meanwhile, at an event on the border on Wednesday between the border guards of the two countries, Myanmar side has informed the Bangladesh side that they are prepared to accept the Rohingyas, according to news release posted on the Myanmar information ministry.

The Myanmar-Bangladesh Border Guard Regiment-level flag hoisting ceremony was held near the friendship bridge on the border at noon yesterday, it said.

During the ceremony, the Bangladeshi side was led by BGB commanding officer Lt Col Monzural Hassan Khan while the Myanmar side was led by police commanding officer Lt Col Saw Zeyar. During the meeting, Zeyar of Myanmar told the Bangladeshi side that Myanmar is ready for the repatriation of returnees from Bangladesh.

Khan said the authorities in Bangladesh were collecting lists of returnees, and when they are ready, they will proceed with the process of repatriation, stated the release.

Following the meeting, the Myanmar delegation leader demonstrated the camps’ readiness to accept returnees from Bangladesh, the release said without providing further details, it said.

When contacted, Lt Col Khan told The Independent that the Myanmar side did not demonstrate anything to the Bangladesh side. “It was a courtesy meeting called by the Myanmar side on the border. They didn’t take us to anywhere to show the readiness of their camps,” he said.

To another question regarding his comments on the preparation of the list, Lt Col Khan said that he did not say anything like that.

“I said I am not the right person to speak about it. Perhaps, this mistake in their statement can be attributed to the language constraint on the part of my counterpart,” he said.  “It is going to take some more time to begin the repatriation. We are still in the process of preparing the list of the returnees,” RRRC chief said.

Led by him, a technical committee formed in early January has been working to prepare the list of about 8 lakh Rohingyas, he said.

When his attention was drawn to an earlier decision of primarily preparing a list of 1 lakh Rohingyas, Kalam said, “Not 1 lakh, now we are preparing the list of about eight lakh Rohingyas.”

As asked if one list of 8 lakh or segmented lists will be provided to the Myanmar side, he said that it is the foreign ministry that will make a decision in this regard.

To another question, the RRRC chief, a joint secretary to the government, said, “It is a very difficult task. But, we are trying our best with the necessary assistance from different partners including government agencies.”

About a timeframe of the beginning of repatriation, he said, “I cannot give you any timeframe. Collecting information is a time-consuming.” When asked if it would begin within February, Kalam said, I cannot say. We are trying our best.”

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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