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Bangladesh: Rohingya repatriation to begin in 2 months

News Agencies | Updated on: 24 November 2017, 17:21 IST

The Bangladesh Foreign Ministry has said that the Rohingya repatriation process will "commence within two months".

"The return shall commence within two months," Bangladesh foreign ministry said in a statement, adding, "A Joint Working Group will be established within three weeks of signing the 'arrangement'."

The statement came after Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a deal on Rohingya repatriation after both the countries came to a consensus following a meeting between Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali and Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday morning.

"A specific bilateral instrument (physical arrangement) for repatriation will be concluded in a speedy manner," reads the foreign ministry statement.

The long pending talks started on Wednesday with the aim of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable both the countries to start the repatriation process of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to their homeland Myanmar.

"If things go well at the meeting, both sides will sign the MoU on Thursday," a Bangladesh official said yesterday.

A study prepared by the New York-based Amnesty International charged the Government of Myanmar with promoting and practicing a form of "apartheid" against the Rohingyas in that country's northern Rakhine state.

The study said that this suffocating control of the Rohingya population amounts to "apartheid", even as it continues with its probe into the root causes of a crisis that has sent 620,000 refugees fleeing to Bangladesh and other countries in the South Asian region.

There is global outrage over the distressing plight of dispossessed Rohingya in Bangladeshi camps currently.

A majority of them left the Rakhine state at the end of August this year, recounting incidents of murder, rape and arson at the hands of the Myanmar Army.

Till now, Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed in principle to repatriate some Rohingyas, but are in disagreement over the details.

More than 5,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since the Myanmar security forces launched an operation in response to the alleged attacks by militants on August 25 against 30 police posts and a regimental headquarters.

In October, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali had said that a total of 3,000 Rohingya refugees were killed since the army crackdown.

On October 12, a United Nations' report based on interviews conducted in Bangladesh found that brutal attacks against Rohingyas in the northern Rakhine state have been well-organised, coordinated and systematic, with the intent of not only driving the population out of Myanmar, but preventing them from returning to their homes.

The Rakhine state is home to the Rohingya community of Myanmar, ethnic Muslims, who have long faced persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, especially from the extremists.


First published: 24 November 2017, 17:21 IST