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June 19 2018, 02:28 | Rex Rios
Crystal Grymaloski center at a Samaritan’s Purse care unit in Bangladesh. Contributed Global Okanagan
"The repatriation would be completed preferably within two years from the commencement of repatriation", saidBangladesh foreign ministry in a statement yesterday, following the first joint working group meeting (JWG) in Naypyitaw on January 15-16.
Win Myat Aye, Myanmar's union minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement, and Nyi Pu, chief minister of Rakhine State, have inspected villages and camps as preparations start to receive refugees from Bangladesh. Myanmar repeatedly denies that.
Myanmar has also provided Bangladesh's border guard force with the names of more than 1,000 suspected members of the militant Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and asked for their extradition in line with the 1980 Agreement on Border Arrangements and Cooperation.
The agreement proposes returning more than 650,000 Rohingya, a mostly stateless Muslim minority, who fled across the border after a brutal military crackdown on suspected insurgents began in August past year.
UNHCR said that "major challenges have to be overcome" to ensure a safe and sustainable return, such as consultations with the refugees themselves, safe transit and future security. "It is equally unclear whether the 100,000 Rohingya are volunteers or what their interim and/or final destination and legal status will be and what arrangements might be put in place for their safety and security", the Parliament's International Development Committee said in a statement Monday.
The governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to do it within 2 years.
The Myanmar government declared the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) a terrorist organisation previous year, after it attacked police and security outposts in 2016 and 2017.