Bangladesh and Myanmar have formed a Joint Working Group to handle the repatriation of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and his counterpart Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar U Myint Thu signed an agreement on behalf of the respective governments in the presence of the Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali at Dhaka’s State Guest House Padma on Tuesday.
A nine member Myanmar delegation led by the permanent secretary held talks with the Bangladesh delegation before finalising the agreement. Representatives from relevant ministries and agencies from both countries participated in the meeting.
The agreement mandates the joint panel will undertake all necessary measures to begin the safe and voluntary return, resettlement and reintegration of the displaced Myanmar residents as outlined in Nov 23 agreement signed by Bangladesh and Myanmar in Nay Pyi Taw.
The working group will develop physical arrangements for the refugees’ return, including mechanisms for verification, time schedule, transport and logistical arrangements, reception procedures and communication. The repatriation process is to begin within two months of the agreement’s signing on Nov 23.
The Joint Working Group will be composed of 15 members from each country, led by the foreign secretaries. The panel will take the assistance of UN agencies, including the UNHCR and other interested international organisations.
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