Yangon [Myanmar], Feb 20 (ANI): Bangladesh has provided Myanmar with a list of over 8,000 Rohingya refugees and has asked the latter to have their backgrounds checked before the repatriation process begins, its home ministry said on Saturday.
The list of 8,032 refugees from 1,673 households was handed over to Myanmarese Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant General Kyaw Swe by his Bangladeshi counterpart Asaduzzaman Khan during a bilateral meeting at the home ministry office in Dhaka on Friday.
The first group of the refugees on the list will be repatriated once their identity and their residence in Myanmar have been verified by the authorities, The Irrawaddy reported.
Myanmar’s Home Affairs Ministry urged Bangladesh to investigate and provide information about a list of suspected members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the Rohingya militant group.
It said the two countries also discussed the pending launch of liaison offices in Myanmar’s Maungdaw Township and Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar to coordinate security and combat the cross-border trade of illegal drugs.
U. Thein Swe, the Myanmarese Minister of Labour, Immigration and Population said on Monday that Myanmar would check that the listed refugees had resided in Myanmar within a week and then inform Bangladesh to start the repatriation.
Last month, Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed on a two-year timeframe for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees.
The process, which was supposed to start from January 22 was delayed as some critics of the deal voiced concerns over the lack of security guarantees for those who would return.
Despite the ongoing preparations for repatriation, more than 2,500 Rohingyas have crossed into Bangladesh this year. According to government statistics, an average of 75 Rohingya refugees fled their villages in Myanmar every day between January 1 and February 15.
Rohingyas are a Muslim minority ethnic group in Myanmar. They have been regarded by many majority Buddhists as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
There are more than 3,00,000 Rohingyas living in Bangladesh, who fled in earlier waves of violence from the Myanmarese Government since the last three decades.
The United Nations has called the violence against civilians ‘ethnic cleansing’, but the Myanmarese Government rejected the claims. (ANI)