Dhaka, May 3 (UNB)— Bangladesh on Friday emphasised on removing legal and administrative barriers to ensure basic rights of the Rohingyas after their return to their place of origin in Rakhine State.
The rights include freedom of movement, guaranteeing their safety and security, and positive steps towards a well-defined time-bound pathway to citizenship that would encourage the Myanmar residents to return voluntarily.
Bangladesh also stressed on the early start of physical repatriation and urged Myanmar to remove all barriers preventing commencement of repatriation.
The issues were discussed at the fourth meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on the repatriation of displaced Myanmar residents from Bangladesh to Myanmar in Nay Pyi Taw.
Secretary (Asia and Pacific) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mahbub Uz Zaman and U Myint Thu, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar led the respective sides.
The JWG held substantive discussion on all issues related to safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of the forcibly displaced Myanmar residents to their homeland, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingyas who fled Myanmar over the years to save their lives. Most of the Rohingyas crossed the border after violence flared in the Rakhine State in late August 2017.
At the JWG, Bangladesh emphasised concrete steps for creating conducive environment in Rakhine State and both sides agreed to speed up the verification process.
Referring to dispute on eligibility of more than 2,000 prospective returnees from the first batch of verification, Bangladesh proposed to host the first meeting of the dispute settlement mechanism soon, to which Myanmar agreed.
Bangladesh highlighted the need for deeper engagement between Myanmar authorities and prospective returnees with a view to convincing and motivating them.
To this effect, Bangladesh proposed visit of Myanmar delegations to Cox’s Bazar to directly engage with the displaced Myanmar residents sheltered there.
Bangladesh also highlighted the need for allowing greater engagement of international community including ASEAN and interested partners in improving ground situation in the Rakhine State. It also proposed appropriate mechanism for coordination of actions among those actors to create greater confidence.
Bangladesh also emphasised the need for sharing verifiable information on ground situation in Rakhine so that prospective returnees can take informed decision.