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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bangladesh-Myanmar 2nd JWG meeting underway

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The second meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG), dedicated to overseeing the repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar, has begun here, aiming to expedite the verification and repatriation process of Rohingyas. 

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and his Myanmar counterpart Permanent Secretary at Myanmar Foreign Ministry Myint Thu are leading their respective sides at the meeting began at the state guesthouse Meghna at 11 am on Thursday.

The JWG held the first meeting in Myanmar on January 15.

Bangladesh will “give a push” for expediting the verification and Rohingya repatriation process at the meeting as little progress is seen in this regard since the handover of the first Rohingya list to Myanmar.

Officials said Bangladesh handed over a list of 1,673 Rohingya families (8,032 individuals) to Myanmar on February 16 to start the first phase of repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland in Rakhine state.

Myanmar has so far verified less than 900 Rohingyas out of 8,032 names of Rohingyas after verification in several steps, an official told UNB.

“We’ll raise all issues related to repatriation,” Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Mohammed AbulKalam told UNB.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed the repatriation agreement on November 23, 2017. 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.

 Bangladesh currently has a Rohingya population, which is far more than Bhutan’s entire population.

Bhutan has around 800,000 people whereas Bangladesh had to give shelter to some 1.2 million Rohingyas.

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