Dhaka – Myanmar has planned to complete the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, who fled to Bangladesh, in two years, officials said.
Officials from both Myanmar and Bangladesh at a meeting agreed for the refugee repatriation as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims crossed into Bangladesh fleeing a military crackdown in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that a joint working group from the two countries finalized an agreement on Monday in Naypyidaw on physical arrangements for the ethnic Rohingya’s repatriation.
It said they agreed that the process “would be completed preferably within two years from the commencement of repatriation.”
Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh delegation while Permanent Secretary Myint Thu led the Myanmar side at the consultation.
The arrangement will facilitate return of Rohingay from Bangladesh to be guided by the earlier understanding and principles.
Verification and return will be based on considering the family as a unit, said a Bangladesh Foreign Ministry statement.
It added, the meeting also finalized the “Form” for verification. Modalities for repatriation of orphans and children born out of unwarranted incidence have also been incorporated in the arrangement.
Bangladesh would establish five transit camps from which returnees would be received initially in two reception centers on Myanmar side.
Myanmar would shelter the returnees in a temporary accommodation at the Hla Pho Khung and expeditiously rebuild the houses for the returnees to move in there.
Myanmar would consider resettling the people staying at the “zero line” on a priority basis.
The statement said that Myanmar had reiterated its commitment to stop outflow of Myanmar residents to Bangladesh. The two sides agreed to form two Technical Working Group, one on verification and the other on return of the refugees.
More than 655,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August, when Myanmar’s military launched a brutal crackdown in Rakhine state after a militant group attacked police posts.
Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an initial agreement on the repatriation on November 23.