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9 November, 2018 03:27:51 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 9 November, 2018 04:28:55 PM
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Rohingya repatriation to proceed despite objections, Myanmar says

‘The schedule is confirmed...but there are are certain areas that need to be discussed.’ - U Aung Kyaw Zan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Independent Online Desk
Rohingya repatriation to proceed despite objections, Myanmar says

Myanmar will carry out the repatriation of Rakhine refugees scheduled to start in mid-November despite objections against the plan by some international organisations, a Foreign Ministry official said.

U Aung Kyaw Zan, deputy permanent secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the repatriation of the first batch of northern Rakhine refugees will start as scheduled on November 15, The Myanmar Times reports.

“The schedule is confirmed so far, but there are certain cases that will need to be discussed up the last second,” he said.

U Aung Thuerin, member of the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD) said the returnees will be accommodated first at the Hla Phone Khaung transit camp before they are permanently relocated to their original villages. “We are ready and we will resettle them. China has donated over 1,000 prefabricated houses too” he said.

He added, the first batch of returnees numbering over 2000 will be arriving in batches of 150 per day. He added this will hasten the reception process. 

“As far as I know, the relevant agencies have already conducted security arrangements for not only returnees but also villagers” U Aung Thuerin said.

Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed the repatriation of first batch of 2260 refugees from northern Rakhine during a two-day foreign-secretary-level joint working group meeting on 29 and 30 October.

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Myanmar has agreed to receive a total of 4355 refugees out of 8000 included in a list submitted by the Bangladesh authorities. 

On Tuesday, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee urged Bangladesh to shelve plans to start repatriating refugees to Rakhine State this month, saying the Myanmar had failed to provide guarantees they will not suffer the same persecution and horrific violence that led them to flee all over again.

Lee said she has not “seen any evidence of the government of Myanmar taking concrete and visible measures to create an environment” where the refugees from northern Rakine “can return to their place of origin and live there safely with their fundamental rights guaranteed.” Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division said there should have been participation from the refugees in the decision to start the repatriation “ but both governments have failed to even ask the refugees.”

“The main problem with the repatriating is that no one bothered to consult with the refugees whether they are ready to go and under what conditions they would consider returning” Phil said.

In the meantime, ethnic residents in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathidaung townships have demonstrated on Tuesday to demand that refugees should not be resettled in the southern area of Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships.

U Sein Hla Phyu, who joined the demonstration, said the southern part of Maungdaw district is close to the coast and terrorists can go in and out of the villages if the refugees are resettled there. 

“We agree to the resettlement of the refugees in the northern part of Maungdaw but we do not agree to have them resettled in the southern area We are worried that attacks could occur again. We don’t want any attacks to happen again” he said.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed the Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State on November 23 last year. One of the provisions of the agreement was that action will not be taken against the returnees except for those involved in terrorist activities.

U Aung Kyaw Zan said, Myanmar would able to be received verified list refugees and would not receive unverified refugees.

Over 700,000 refugees fled from northern Rakhine to Bangladesh in the aftermath of a crackdown launched by the Tatmadaw (military) in August last year in response to deadly attacks on security outposts in northern Rakhine by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

KK

 

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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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