United Nations: Myanmar has said that 508 Hindus are among around 1,000 refugees cleared for the first batch to be repatriated to their homes from Bangladesh. The list, which also includes 750 Muslims, has been handed over to Bangladesh authorities to “expedite” the process of repatriating refugees now in the neighbouring country, Myanmar’s Permanent Representative Hau Do Suan told the Security Council on Tuesday during a briefing on the situation there on Tuesday.
The repatriation process has not yet started, although he said that it was to have begun on January 23 under an agreement with Bangladesh. Myanmar has provided Bangladesh side the resettlement plan covering livelihood assistance, access to basic services, and safety arrangement for verified returnees, he added.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, however, told the Council that the situation in Myanmar was not yet conducive for the return of refugees. “An end to violence and destruction of property and granting humanitarian access throughout Rakhine State —— as called for by the Secretary—General (Antonio Guterres) —— were critical, basic steps,” he said. He acknowledged, though, that the flow of refugees to Bangladesh was significantly reduced.
Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative Masud Bin Momen disputed that assertion saying that the flight of Rohingya fleeing to his country continued unabated and that 1,500 had come over in the first ten days of February.