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March 23 2018, 01:28 | 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.
Though Myanmar says it would provide citizenship to some Rohingya, they have no reason to trust Myanmar, said Asif Munier.
However, the United Nations refugee agency said Tuesday that it has not been invited to take part or given full access to the areas where refugees are to return.
He said Myanmar will have build confidence among the Rohingya population by assuring that they will not be tortured and be able to live there properly.
The UK Government has put forward a five-point plan for Rohingya and Burma, stating that the required conditions for the safe return of Rohingya must include access to fundamental human rights.
USA -based Human Rights Watch said the discussions between Myanmar and Bangladesh failed to include any understanding of what the Rohingya want.
The UN has described the Myanmar military's treatment of the Rohingya as "textbook ethnic cleansing".