Bangladesh, Myanmar sign deal to start safe return of Rohingyas


DHAKA, Dec 19, 2017 (BSS) – Bangladesh and Myanmar today signed an agreement that mandates the Joint Working Group (JWG) to undertake necessary measures to start the safe and voluntary return of Rohingya people who were forcibly displaced from Myanmar.

Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and his Myanmar counterpart U Myint Thu signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments following a meeting held this morning at State Guest House Padma.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali was present on the occasion. A nine-member Myanmar delegation led by the permanent secretary discuused with the Bangladesh delegation before finalising the agreement, a foreign ministry statement said after the meeting.

Representatives from relevant ministries and agencies from both countries participated in the meeting.

The agreement mandates the JWG to undertake all necessary measures to start the safe and voluntary return, resettlement and reintegration process of displaced Myanmar residents as envisaged in the “Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State”.

Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali and Union Minister at the State Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe signed the “Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State” in Nay Pyi Taw on November 23, 2017.

According to today’s agreement, the JWG will develop physical arrangement for return, which would include mechanism of verification, time schedule, transport, and logistic arrangements, reception procedures and communication to commence the repatriation process within the stipulated time frame mentioned in the arrangement. The JWG will assess the process and report to the respective governments quarterly.

The JWG will involve assistance of the UNHCR and other mandated UN agencies and interested international partners in various stages of repatriation, the statement said.

“The JWG shall ensure commencement of repatriation within two months of the signing of the arrangement”.

The meeting also finalized a 15-member composition of the Joint Working Group (JWC) from both the countries.