Myanmar tells UN Rohingya refugees can return from Bangladesh

Myanmar tells UN Rohingya refugees can return from Bangladesh

Win Myat Aye, Myanmar's Union Minister, Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, told UNHCR's Executive Committee meeting in Geneva: "Our next immediate priority is to bring back the refugees who have fled to Bangladesh".

Bangladeshi men help Rohingya refugees to disembark from a boat on the Bangladeshi shoreline of the Naf river after crossing the border from Myanmar in Teknaf.

Amidst the ongoing Rohingya crisis, the centre has approved two immigration check points along the borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Bangladesh and Myanmar had agreed to form similar panels for repatriation of the refugees in the late 1970s and 1990s when tens of thousands of the minority Muslims were driven away from their homes in the Rakhine state.

"I see today's development very positively, but we know Myanmar's previous behaviour when it comes to Rohingya and their repatriation", said Delwar Hossain, a professor of worldwide relations at Dhaka University.

She said Myanmar was ready to start a verification process under a 1993 agreement with Bangladesh and "refugees from this country will be accepted without any problem".

The head of the United Nations' food-assistance agency on Sunday urged the global community to step up its support for the relief operation for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh or risk "a massive catastrophic disaster".

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Bangladesh is to move to a camp at least 15,000 Rohingya refugees who have settled in a restive hill district near the border with Myanmar, a local official said Sunday.

They are accused of being among dozens of protesters from Sri Lanka's majority Buddhist community, including monks, who stormed a safe house on the outskirts of Colombo where 31 Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar, including 17 children, had been living since arriving in the country in April.

Its forces launched an offensive in the north of Rakhine state in response to coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents on Aug 25.

No details of the repatriation process was provided.

Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called Myanmar to take the persecuted Rohingya back to their homes ensuring their safety and dignity.

"We have referred implementation of the recommendation of the Kofi Annan Commission", said the foreign minister.

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