Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to complete repatriation of Rohingyas in two years

Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to complete repatriation of Rohingyas in two years

Meanwhile, the first meeting of the joint working group of foreign ministries of the two countries on repatriation of displaced Myanmar residents from Bangladesh was also held in Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday, agreeing on a repatriation plan starting from January 23.

The ministry said a joint working group from the two countries finalized an agreement on Monday on the physical arrangements for the repatriation of the ethnic Rohingya.

"Hundreds of thousands of children are already living in horrific conditions, they will face greater risk of disease, flooding, landslides and further displacement,"Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh said in a statement".

They warn more than 650,000 Rohingya refugees living in overcrowded, squalid, makeshift settlements are totally unprepared to deal with the extensive storm damage and destruction that is likely to occur.

More than 655000 minority Rohingya Muslims have left Myanmar since August 25 past year when the military launched "security operations" in response to attacks by Rohingya militants.

Rohingyas are not recognized as an ethnic group in Myanmar and are ineligible for citizenship and accompanying rights under the country's Citizenship Law. Myanmar repeatedly denies that. They are generally called "Bengalis", a reference to the belief that they migrated illegally from Bangladesh.

"We want to go back home but we want a guarantee of our safety and a concrete promise of citizenship in Myanmar". Secondly, they have to give back our lands.

Bangladesh state media reported on Wednesday that the first batch of Rohingya would be sent back to Myanmar next week.

A vice-president of the European Commission, Mogherini also underlined the EUs commitment to provide humanitarian support to the refugees and stressed that "the European Union will continue to lead the work of the donor community because we believe that human dignity and peoples' lives must always be protected".

More than 740,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh amid violence in Rakhine state in 2016 and 2017. Rights groups said it remained unclear whether refugees would be forced to return against their will.

Myanmar authorities have announced plans to build a temporary camp in Rakhine state to accommodate about 30,000 people in 625 buildings.

Myanmar and Bangladesh had earlier in December previous year, formed Joint Working Group (JWG) to handle the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.

It is now incumbent on UNHCR to ensure that there is no repetition of these earlier scenarios, insisting that any repatriation that takes place in the future does so in a way that is both voluntary and safe, as stipulated in the organization's own guidelines on refugee returns.

On Tuesday in Geneva, the U.N.'s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) underscored the importance of ensuring that the protection of refugees was guaranteed in Bangladesh and on return in Myanmar, and said it was willing to assist in the process.

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