Myanmar has handed over to Dhaka a list of 508 Hindus and 750 Muslims, verified as its residents in the first batch of refugees to be repatriated from Bangladesh under the recent deal between the two governments, a top Myanmarese diplomat has informed the UN Security Council.
This is part of the recent agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to repatriate Rohingya refugees from the latter. More than 680,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh after Rohingya insurgents staged a series of attacks August 25 on the military.
Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya as an ethnic group. The government says they are Bengali migrants from Bangladesh living illegally in the Buddhist-majority country.
In an effort to expedite implementation of the repatriation, Myanmar has provided to Bangladesh a list of 508 Hindus and 750 Muslims who have been verified as Myanmar residents, to be included in the first batch of repatriation, the Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations Hau Do Suan told members of the UN Security Council during an open hearing on Rohingya refugees yesterday.
In addition, on January 30, Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided Bangladesh side with information relating to resettlement plan, provision of livelihood assistance, access to basic services, and safety arrangement for verified returnees, he said.
Suan said Myanmar and Bangladesh have made significant progress in their bilateral efforts for repatriation of displaced persons. Myanmar and Bangladesh had signed the MoU on the "Arrangement on Return of displaced Persons from Rakhine State" on November 23, 2017.
According to the Physical Arrangement, the repatriation process will commence on January 23, 2018, he said, adding that the returnees will be received at two reception centres, i.e Taung Pyo Letwe and Nga Khu Ya.
After one or two nights, the returnees will be temporarily accommodated at Hla Phoe Kaung transit camp before permanent settlement.
As initial step, Myanmar will receive 300 returnees (150 returnees per centre) a day to ensure smooth and safe return. The number shall be increased based on the progress of the return and shall be reviewed in three months. The number of transit camps and reception centres may be increased based on requirement as the repatriation process progresses, Suan said.