Bangladesh has handed over a list of 1673 families of 8032 Rohingays to Myanmar to start the first phase of repatriation of the displaced people living in Bangladesh to their homeland in Rakhine.
“The Myanmar side has cordially accepted the list,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters on Friday evening after over three hours of meeting with his Myanmar counterpart at the Secretariat.
He said Myanmar will scrutinise the list and names provided by Bangladesh and will send back to Bangladesh.
The Home Minister said there is no specific timeframe to start the repatriation but he expressed the hope that it will start soon.
“[A congenial] environment needs to be created [in Rakhine]to make their return sustainable. No specific date came for repatriation but they showed sincerity and are taking preparations to take their nationals back,” the minister said.
He mentioned that a meeting between Bangladesh and Myanmar will be held in a Myanmar district at 10am on February 20 to take back over 6000 Rohingyas now staying along the zero line.
Minister Khan said the Myanmar delegation came here with a positive mood and the meeting was very fruitful. “We’re having the confidence that they’ll take their nationals back.”
Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and his Myanmar counterpart Lt Gen Kyaw Swe with 15-member delegation led their respective sides at the meeting that began around 3:10pm.
Following the meeting which ended at 6:15pm, the Myanmar Minister left the venue without making any comment.
The Home Minister said Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to shut down Yaba factories in Myanmar. “We’ve identified the 49 Yaba factories and the names were handed over to them. They’re trying to shut down the factories and sought support from Bangladesh.”
Minister Khan said the two countries will work together to stop illicit drug smuggling and stop entering Yaba in Bangladesh.
At the meeting, they discussed the issue of ensuring security of the Myanmar nationals after repatriation in light with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s five-point proposal and Kofi Annan Commission report.
The parties also discussed the combined operations on both sides of the border to check the rapid spread of Yaba.
Setting up of a Border Liaison Office in a bid to take instant actions to solve any problem was also discussed. “There’s progress in this area and it’ll be done.”
The Home Minister said they also discussed the issues of border killing and border patrolling. Bangladesh sought measures to stop killing along the border.
On Thursday, President Abdul Hamid urged Myanmar to take steps so that the displaced Rohingyas can return to their homeland in Rakhine with dignity and safety.
He also requested them to create a congenial atmosphere and build confidence in this regard.
President Hamid came up with the call when a seven-member delegation, led by Myanmar Home Minister Lt Gen Kyaw Swe, met him at Bangabhaban in the evening.
During the meeting, the President laid emphasis on the implementation of Kofi Annan Commission’s recommendation to end the Rohingya crisis.
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 years from the start of repatriation.
A ‘joint-working group’ has already been formed following the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) titled ‘arrangement on return of displaced persons from the Rakhine estate’ was signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar for the repatriation process.
Bangladesh hoped that the Myanmar government would take initiatives to rebuild their houses as well as give back their property, including arable land, shops and business centres, immediately after their return.
Myanmar Home Minister Lieutenant General Kyaw Swe earlier said his country is ready to start the repatriation process of Rohingyas and a reception camp has already been set up in this regard.
He said their government will implement the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Commission gradually.