Myanmar minister due Apr 11 to meet Rohingyas

Myanmar minister due Apr 11 to meet Rohingyas

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Myanmar is sending its Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister Win Myat Aye next week to visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar district.

This will be the first such visit by any Myanmar minister to the largest-ever refugee camps where some 700,000 Rohingyas have taken shelter since last August following an army crackdown in Rakhine. The United Nations has likened it to ethnic cleansing.

Minister Win Myat Aye is scheduled to arrive here on April 11 and will visit Rohingya camps on April 12, a Foreign Ministry source said without elaborating his programme.

Though there have been high-level visits from Myanmar, including minister, no one of them did visit the Rohingya camps.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque said one of the Myanmar ministers will be visiting Bangladesh this month.

“He (Myanmar minister) has also agreed to go down to Cox’s Bazar, and we’re planning to take him to that particular spot (zero line) to show as to why these people cannot go back to their own home,” he said while responding to questions at an international conference on Rohingya crisis that ended on Tuesday.

Some 5,000 Rohingyas are living on the zero line on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border and the Rohingyas are unwilling to go back under the current circumstances and Myanmar troops’ positioning behind them.

Bangladesh and Myanmar are in discussion to find a better mechanism to send them back to their home as they are legally on Myanmar side, officials said.

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.

The government will soon send the second list consisting of upto 10,000 names of Rohingyas to Myanmar as part of the repatriation process.

Bangladesh has already handed over a list of 1,673 Rohingya families (8,032 individuals) to Myanmar to start the first phase of repatriation of the displaced people to their homeland in Rakhine but there is no sign of their repatriation yet.

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