Bangladesh, Myanmar form joint panel for Rohingya repatriation

ANI | Updated: Dec 19, 2017 15:55 IST

Dhaka [Bangladesh], December 19 (ANI): Myanmar and Bangladesh on Tuesday formed Joint Working Group (JWG) to handle the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.

The crucial JWG with 15 each from Bangladesh and Myanmar will oversee the repatriation of over 600,000 Rohingya refugees who have taken shelter in Bangladesh to escape ethnic violence in the latter.

Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Huq will head the JWG from the Bangladesh side while the Myanmar side will be headed by Permanent Secretary at Myanmar Foreign Ministry Myint Thu.

The Daily Star quoted sources as saying that the repatriation was likely to begin from February next year.

As per an initial agreement, signed on November 23, the two countries were supposed to form the JWG within three weeks. But they failed to set it up by the December-14 deadline due to procedural complexities.

More than 655,000 Rohingyas have crossed into Bangladesh since August 25, escaping a military crackdown in Rakhine state, which many countries and human rights bodies have described as ethnic cleansing.

The military action was triggered after their posts became targets of terrorist attacks.

There is global outrage over the distressing plight of dispossessed Rohingya in Bangladeshi camps currently.

A majority of them left the Rakhine state at the end of August this year, recounting incidents of murder, rape and arson at the hands of the Myanmar Army.

On October 12, a United Nations' report based on interviews conducted in Bangladesh found that brutal attacks against Rohingyas in the northern Rakhine state have been well-organised, coordinated and systematic, with the intent of not only driving the population out of Myanmar, but preventing them from returning to their homes.

The Rakhine state is home to majority of Muslims in Myanmar, who have been denied citizenship and long faced persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, especially from the extremists. (ANI)