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The repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas will start in mid-November, top officials of Myanmar and Bangladesh decided at a meeting on Tuesday.
“We are looking forward to starting the first phase repatriation (of Rohingyas) by mid-November,” Bangladesh Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque said after a meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on the repatriation of the Rohingyas at state guesthouse Meghna, reports BSS.
The third foreign secretary-level JWG meeting was co-chaired by Permanent Secretary of Myanmar foreign affairs ministry Myint Thu and the Bangladesh Foreign Secretary.
“The return always is a complex and difficult process but it is possible to reach a fruitful end if there are political wills. Today, we realised that both of our sides have strong political will in repatriation of Rohingyas,” Haque said at a joint press briefing after the meeting.
He said as per the directives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, they have been trying to find a solution to the crisis in a peaceful manner through dialogue between the two countries. “We have already made a good success (in starting Rohingya repatriation),” he added.
Terming the meeting as candid and friendly, Myanmar permanent Foreign Secretary said, “We came up with the very concrete result about the commencement of the repatriation. We have shown our political will, flexibility and accommodation in order to commence repatriation at the earliest possible days.”
Myint Thu said his government has streamlined a lot of local directives in order to promote awareness on the repatriation and also promoted public policy which includes police personnel together with the local community to maintain law and orders in the Rakhine state.
“We have put in place numbers of measures to make sure that the returnees (Rohingya) will have secured environment for their return,” he said.
He said the Myanmar government is promoting awareness in Rakhine about the fundamental principles of access to justice so that the Rohingyas can complain on any issue that encounters their livelihood.
“On the provision of security, we have been conducting numbers of workshops on promoting awareness among the public officials as well as the police personnel so that they cannot discriminate the people in the northern Rakhine state,” he said.
Senior Secretary Haque said the joint working group members from both the sides will visit the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar today to encourage the Rohingya population there to go back to Myanmar in safety and security.
However, any of the officials didn’t disclose the specific number of Rohingyas to be repatriated in the first phase, starting from the next month.
Bangladesh and Myanmar formed the Joint Working Group (JWG) on December 2017 to start repatriating the Rohingyas by January 23, 2018.
Around 700,000 Rohingyas took shelter in Bangladesh from Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 2017 following the brutal military actions termed by UN as “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” by rights groups.
Myanmar gave consent to repatriate the Rohingyas after mounting of international pressures that even includes targeted sanctions on its (Myanmar) top military officials by the USA, the EU and Australia.