Myanmar minister in Cox's Bazar to see Rohingya camps

Myanmar minister in Cox’s Bazar to see Rohingya camps

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Myanmar Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Minister Win Myat Aye arrived here on Wednesday to visit Rohingya camps.

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 the Myanmar army’s crackdown to ethnic cleansing.

Though there have been high-level visits from Myanmar, no one of the visitors has visited the Rohingya camps to date.

Upon return from Cox’s Bazar, the Myanmar minister will hold meetings with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Home Minister Asasuzzaman Khan on Thursday, said a diplomatic source.

The Minister will leave Dhaka on Thursday night.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque had said a minister from Myanmar would visit Bangladesh this month.

“He (the 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.

However, officials here said Myanmar Minister’s visit to zero point has not been finalised yet.

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

Bangladesh and Myanmar are in discussions to find a better mechanism to send the refugees back to their home, 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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