A list of over 8,000 Rohingya refugees has been given to Myanmar officials marking an important step in Rohingya repatriation.
The official exchange between the Bangladeshi Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and his Myanmar counterpart Kyaw Swe took place during a meeting of their delegations in Dhaka. Kamal said that Bangladesh has managed to list around 1.1 million Myanmar nationals, both from the current and previous decades of persecution. Those on the current list come from 1,673 families.
No date to start the repatriation was discussed. However, it’s understood that once the list of names has been verified by Myanmar, a start date will be decided. According to the minister the repatriation process will be conducted in three stages. This will include finding and rehabilitating refugees followed by building homes and working to ‘ensure permanent residency of this population’, he said.
Kamal was optimistic about the meeting saying that the Myanmar delegation, ‘were in a very positive mood. They agreed to take back the Rohingyas in phases. They are preparing for it,’
‘We want to believe in their words and they are gaining our trust. Maybe they will take the Rohingyas back.’
Meanwhile, a deal has also been reached between the two governments to include United Nations oversight in repatriation. Junior Foreign Minister, Shahriar Alam of Bangladesh said that having the UN involved ensures that refugees are not returned against their will. He told reporters that,
‘We want to fill up the (repatriation) forms in their (UN) presence so that no one can say they been forced by someone or sent back against their will.’
As highlighted in Xchange’s recent Rohingya Survey 2017, 78% of the the Rohingya respondents would return only if their situation in Myanmar would significantly improve and their human rights respected.
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(Bangladesh hands list of 8,032 Rohingya refugees to Myanmar for repatriation; BDNews24; https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2018/02/16/bangladesh-hands-list-of-8032-rohingya-refugees-to-myanmar-for-repatriation)
(Myanmar Ready to Take Back Rohingya; The Australia; https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/myanmar-ready-to-take-back-rohingya/news-story/a2e18b510866dec25392093b7b8c7c5b)
(Bangladesh agrees to let UN oversee repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar; The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/rohingya-muslims-bangladesh-united-nations-un-myanmar-refugees-return-repatriation-a8207541.html)
(Bangladesh hands list to Myanmar for Rohingya repatriation; China News Asia; https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/bangladesh-hands-list-to-myanmar-for-rohingya-repatriation-9967040)