Rohingya repatriation to Myanmar to begin in January

Agreement for the verification of refugee identities and the logistics of their return. There are 655 thousand persons displaced by violence in August, 70 thousand who fled in October 2016.

Naypyitaw (AsiaNews / Agencies) -Bangladesh and Myanmar reiterate their commitment to the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, starting in January. The foreign secretaries of the two countries met yesterday in Dhaka to finalize the agreement signed on November 23. The agreement promises the "safe and voluntary return" of refugees from camps set up in Bangladesh along the border. Among them there are not only the last 655 thousand displaced by the violence in August, but also the more than 70 thousand of October 2016.

A new working group "will ensure the start of the repatriation within two months", elaborating a time schedule for the verification of the identity of the refugees and the logistics of their return, according to Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali.

The international humanitarian organization Médecins sans frontières (MSF) declares that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed during the violence that broke out last August in the western Burmese state of Rakhine. The Myanmar army speaks of only 400 victims and claims to have operated to ensure the stability of the region, threatened by the "Bengali terrorists" of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army  (Arsa).

The civil government of Myanmar, led by democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has launched some emergency resolution projects. Through the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, the initiative led by the democratic leader Myanmar authorities are planning to implement the report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine chaired by Kofi Annan, as well as economic development programmes.