Naypyitaw, less than 400 of 8 thousand Rohingya 'eligible for repatriation'
There are no fingerprints and identification photographs of the other applicants. Three terrorists identified among them. Refugees must prove that they have lived in Rakhine since before October 9, 2016.
Naypyitaw (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Myanmar has informed Bangladesh that it will accept less than 400 Rohingya refugees out of more than 8,000 who have applied to return to the western state of Rakhine, from which they fled following the violence in August 2017. This is what the government of Naypyitaw affirms, accusing Dhaka of not providing correct information on the refugees selected for the first round of repatriation.
Over 530,000 people left Rakhine after attacks by Islamist militants belonging to the Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on August 25th triggered a counter-offensive by the Burmese army that the United Nations and the United States defined as "ethnic cleansing". The administration of Nobel Laureate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, sought to counter the charges by promoting development in Rakhine and by setting up shelters and a camp for returnees.
The two countries reached an agreement last November to begin the voluntary repatriation, within two months, of refugees who can prove they had lived in Rakhine since before October 9, 2016, when an Arsa attack had triggered ethnic violence. However, the process has not yet begun, while the Rohingya, subject to restrictions of movement in Myanmar, continue to cross the border.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Naypyitaw, Myint Thu, said yesterday during a press conference that only 374 refugees, of the 8,032 on the list that Bangladesh presented to Myanmar officials last month, are eligible for repatriation. "We asked Bangladesh to fill in the remaining forms," the official said, adding that no fingerprints and identification photographs of the applicants were attached to them. Burmese police Gen. Win Tun added that the authorities have also identified three terrorists among them.