Myanmar says 1st camp for Rohingya will be ready next week

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono speaks at a news conference in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw Jan. 12 2018

It said they agreed that the process "would be completed preferably within two years from the commencement of repatriation".

Myanmar officials say a camp to house Rohingya Muslim and Hindu refugees returning from Bangladesh will be ready by its promised deadline next week. There are so many children who are unable to recover from the terrors of war.

"In the verification process, Myanmar will confirm whether the people mentioned in the list used to live in Myanmar".

"I am not going back". But the latest deal - like the one in 1992 - does not guarantee citizenship and it is unclear how many would qualify. The group is made up of civil servants from both countries.

This does not cover the estimated 200,000 Rohingya refugees who arrived at Bangladesh before that date.

A 14-member delegation of Bangladesh, led by Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, will meet the Myanmar team led by Permanent Secretary at Myanmar foreign ministry Myint Thu. "The challenge is to create an environment conducive for their return".

"Even though we are talking about a two-year process, it totally depends on how the two countries cooperate", Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay said.

The U.N. says almost 655,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the western state to Bangladesh since the bloody violence erupted last August.

"The first repatriation is important - we can learn from the experiences, good or bad", he said.

Aung Tun Thet, chief coordinator of Myanmar's Union Enterprises for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development, said that the camp in Hla Po Khaung will be a "transition place" for Rohingya refugees before they are repatriated to their "place of origin" or the nearest settlement to their place of origin.

Haque said Myanmar officials would vet the names against their records of residents before the August exodus, and those approved would then be asked if they wanted to go back. The other three had been released, he said. "Delay of a day or two does not matter", he said.

Officials plan to start the repatriation process on Jan 23.

Reuters reports: United Nations agencies working in the camps in Cox's Bazar have voiced scepticism about the resettlement plans.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration said their offers to help with the process have not been taken up by the two countries.

The global community and rights groups have stressed that the Myanmar government must guarantee the "safe and voluntary" return of the refugees, and urged that worldwide organizations be allowed to participate.



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