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12 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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ROHINGYA REPATRIATION

Family-wise data to make work easier

“It’s simply not possible for us to give any date when the repatriation will begin as it is depending on the goodwill of the other side of the border”
HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) has shared its family-wise data of hundreds of thousands of persecuted Rohingyas with the government, which is expected to make the repatriation easier, said sources concerned. "Yes, the UNHCR has shared its family-wise data with us. We hope that it will make our task regarding repatriation easier," Abul Kalam, the chief of Cox's Bazar-based Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission under the disaster management ministry, has told The Independent. The data sharing took place under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the government and the UNHCR, the refugee agency of the global body, on January 26, said the sources.

The data shared by the UNHCR is now to be linked with the government database created with biometrically-registered Rohingyas, they said, adding that when the home ministry registered the Rohingyas it did so individually which is why UNHCR family-wise data was required at a cost of significant amount of time.

With the UNHCR data, a technical committee, headed by RRRC chief, which was formed by the foreign ministry in the early January, is now better-placed to prepare the lists of Rohingyas family-wise because as per the physical arrangement agreed by the joint working group on January 16, the repatriation will take place in terms of family as a unit.

When asked about the timeframe of beginning of the repatriation of Rohingyas to their homes, none of the sources could come up with any specific date.

"We're working hard. But, as you know it is depending on the goodwill of the other side of the border," said RRRC chief Kalam.

"It's simply not possible for us to give any date," he said. "Given the international community's emphasis on safe, voluntary and dignified return of Rohingyas, non-cooperation from the Myanmar government and apparent unwillingness of the persecuted Rohingyas, now it's anybody's guess as to when the repatriation will take place," said a senior foreign ministry official. According to the agreement signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar on November 23, last year in Naypyitaw, the repatriation was supposed to begin within two months of the signing which was January 23.

Meanwhile, the government is still negotiating a draft of another MoU with UNHCR that will allow the refugee agency to be involved with the whole repatriation process. The talks on the draft MoU is now going on for a while, said the sources, adding that while both sides agreed on most of the aspects, they apparently are now working on some technical issues.

"We're working on it," said Kalam. Bangladesh and majority of the international committee want the involvement of the UNHCR with repatriation process while Myanmar does not.

 

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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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