Published:  12:50 AM, 17 May 2018

Dhaka to push for expediting Rohingya repatriation process

Dhaka to push for expediting Rohingya repatriation process

Bangladesh will "give a push" for expediting the verification and Rohingya repatriation process at the second meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) here on Thursday as little progress is seen in this regard since the handover of the first Rohingya list to Myanmar.

Officials said Bangladesh handed over a list of 1,673 Rohingya families (8,032 individuals) to Myanmar on February 16 to start the first phase of repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland in Rakhine state.

Myanmar has so far verified less than 900 Rohingyas out of 8,032 names of Rohingyas after verification in several steps, an official told UNB. The JWG, dedicated to overseeing the repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar, held the first meeting in Myanmar on January 15. Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and his Myanmar counterpart Permanent Secretary at Myanmar Foreign Ministry Myint Thu will lead their respective sides at the meeting consisting of 15 high officials on each side.

The meeting, with no virtual progress over Rohingya repatriation so far, will start at state guesthouse Meghna at 10am and continue until lunch, another official said. "We'll raise all issues related to repatriation," Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Mohammed Abul Kalam told UNB.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed the repatriation agreement on November 23, 2017. On January 16, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on 'Physical Arrangement' which will facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.

The 'Physical Arrangement' stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two yearsfrom the start of repatriation.Bangladesh currently has a Rohingya population, which is far more than Bhutan's entire population. Bhutan has around 800,000 people whereas Bangladesh had to give shelter to some 1.2 million Rohingyas.

Myanmar asked to create conditions The United States has called on the government of Myanmar to create conditions that would allow for the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of Rohingyas.The US also urged the government of Myanmar to allow for immediate and unhindered humanitarian access to reach people in need in Rakhine State.

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