Myanmar, Bangladesh sign deal for return of thousands of Rohingyas

Myanmar, Bangladesh sign deal for return of thousands of Rohingyas
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Yangon, Nov 23: Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday, a senior Myanmar official told Reuters, for the return home of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled to the neighbouring country to escape a Myanmar army crackdown.
“We are ready to take them back as soon as possible after Bangladesh sends the forms back to us,” said Myint Kyaing, a permanent secretary at Myanmar`s ministry of labour, immigration and population, referring to registration forms the Rohingya must complete with personal details before repatriation.
Rights groups have accused the military in mostly Buddhist Myanmar of carrying out mass rape and other atrocities during a counter-insurgency operation launched in late August in retaliation for attacks by Rohingya militants in Rakhine State.
On Wednesday, the United States said the military operation that drove 620,000 Rohingya to seek sanctuary in neighbouring, largely Muslim Bangladesh, amounted to “ethnic cleansing”, echoing an accusation first levelled by top U.N. officials in the early days of the humanitarian crisis.
In a further warning to Myanmar`s military, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raised the threat of targeted sanctions against those responsible for what he called “horrendous atrocities”.
Citing fears of a backlash against Tillerson`s comments, the U.S. embassy in Myanmar on Thursday suspended official travel to parts of Rakhine until Dec. 4 and warned citizens against visiting the areas.