United Nations rapporteur on Myanmar to meet refugees in Bangladesh

Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed on a two-year timeline for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya amid worldwide community's concern over the repatriation climate and the safety of the returnees.

It said they agreed that the process "would be completed preferably within two years from the commencement of repatriation".

The countries held the first meeting of a joint working group on the issue in Naypyidaw on Monday and Tuesday where the deal was signed, according to Bangladeshi officials.

The statement says Bangladesh will establish five transit camps along its border with Myanmar for the returnees.

The agreement follows a pact between the countries in November paving the way for repatriations from January 23, a deadline that is likely to slip given the logistical challenges of the cross-border operation. 'Any repatriation process must be voluntary and only once the causes of their flight have been fully addressed'.

More than 650,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh since Myanmar's military launched a brutal crackdown in August following attacks on police posts by a militant group.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam told bdnews24.com that the return would be in "voluntary, dignified and safe" manner, dispelling concerns by United Nations refugee bodies and rights organisations. Last week, the Myanmar Army acknowledged extrajudicial killings of Rohingyas, who were buried in a common grave in September.

The Rohingya minority has been denied citizenship and other rights in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

There are more than 3,00,000 Rohingyas living in Bangladesh, who fled in earlier waves of violence from the Myanmarese Government since the last three decades. It is the condition for Myanmar residents to come back to their homeland. safety, security, and livelihood. "Please don't send us back as bait for the monster".

"UNCHR and our partners need urgent, unhindered access in Rakhine state in order to assess the situation and provide support to those in need", UNCHR spokesman Andrej Mahecic said in Geneva.

The World Food Program (WFP) also highlighted the concerns about food insecurity and undernutrition in Rakhine state in bordering Myanmar - home to a large Rohingya population - especially for the health of women and children.

Dhaka says the repatriation process will give priority to "family units" and orphans and "children born out of unwarranted incidence" - a reference to children conceived by rape.

The UN has described the Myanmar military's treatment of the Rohingya as "textbook ethnic cleansing".

  • Jon Douglas