Myanmar team to visit Bangladesh to discuss Rohingya issue

Myanmar team to visit Bangladesh to discuss Rohingya issue

Dhaka : A six-member Myanmar delegation is arriving here on Monday for a meeting to set up the joint working group (JWG) to facilitate the repatriation of Rohingyas who fled violence in northern Rakhine State between August 25 and now.

According to the Daily Star, Permanent Secretary of the Myanmar Foreign Ministry Myint Thu is leading the delegation.

The paper quoted diplomatic sources, as saying that both countries still have differences on some issues, which they would like to resolve before activating the repatriation process.

As per an initial agreement, signed on November 23, the two countries were supposed to form the JWG within three weeks. But they failed to set it up by the December-14 deadline due to procedural complexities.

Yesterday, an inter-ministerial meeting was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque in the chair to discuss the strategy for discussion with the Myanmar delegation.

Dhaka is said to be serious about speedy repatriation of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals and would urge Myanmar to take back its citizens as per the agreement signed.

A 24-member JWG is likely to be composed of officials from home and foreign ministries of the two countries.

The meeting in Dhaka is taking place even as UN bodies and rights groups have voiced concern over the “premature” repatriation process. They raised questions about the safety and resettlement of the returnees as hundreds of their villages have been razed and an anti-Muslim sentiment prevails in Rakhine.

More than 655,000 Rohingyas have crossed into Bangladesh since August 25, escaping a military crackdown in Rakhine State, said the International Organisation for Migration.

Meanwhile, 19 non-resident envoys, based in New Delhi and concurrently accredited to Bangladesh, yesterday visited Rohingya refugee camps in Ukhia of Cox’s Bazar.

The Rohingyas told them that they faced serious torture and repression and were forced to flee to Bangladesh to save their lives.

The envoys were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Georgia, Egypt, Mauritius, Portugal, Slovenia, Ukraine, Zambia, Nigeria, Czech Republic, Austria, Ghana, New Zealand, Kenya and Fiji.

The envoys visited Balukhali and Kutupalong camps.

They called for ensuring the rightful return of the Myanmar nationals when they met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Gono Bhaban. (ANI)