Thursday, June 11, 2009

Myanmar imposes condition to repatriate Rohingyas from Bangladesh Read more:

Dhaka (M&C)- Yangon on Thursday said it would consider the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladeshi camps if Dhaka provided proof that the migrants were Myanmar nationals.

'We will think of rehabilitating them if Bangladesh provides strong evidence that they are citizens of Myanmar,' Phae Thann Oo, the Myanmar ambassador in Dhaka said concerning the Rohinjyas, a Muslim minority from Myanmar's Rakhaine state.

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni who also attended the discussion said that repatriation of Rohingya refugees was a 'three- decade-old crisis' and an attempt was made to solve the problem through diplomatic channels in late 1970s.

An agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar was signed to this effect on July 9, 1978 after the first influx of Myanmar nationals into Bangladesh, she said.

During her visit to Myanmar in May, Dipu Moni requested Yangon to resume repatriation of the Rohingyas from Bangladeshi camps.

The junta government has suggested neighbouring Bangladesh send a list to help resume the process stalled for more than five years.

The minister said after the second influx in 1991-92 of some 300,000 Rohingyas into Bangladesh, the government repatriated 236,600 of them with the help of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

She added that there has been no progress over the last few years in the repatriation of some 22,000 refugees living in two camps near the city of Teknaf and the city of Cox's Bazar in the country's south-east.

In addition to this, a large number of Myanmar refugees are living outside the camps illegally, she said, stating that estimates of their number range from 200,000 to 400,000.

'In the spirit of good neighbourly relations, Myanmar should take the refugees back after creating a congenial atmosphere so that once the refugees are repatriated, they will be encouraged to stay on in their country,' the minister said.

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