Bangladesh, Myanmar to implement Rohingya repatriation deal within 2 years

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The meeting in Myanmar's capital Naypyitaw was the first for a joint working group set up to hammer out the details of the November repatriation agreement.

Bangladesh said on Tuesday it would complete the process of returning within two years numerous hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who had fled a conflict in Myanmar, following a meeting of the neighbors.

Bangladesh Ambassador to Myanmar Sufiur Rahman said: "We have signed a very positive treaty".

UNHCR understands that in yesterday's discussions, Bangladesh and Myanmar focused on the modalities for the return of refugees to Myanmar.

Aung Tun Thet, chief coordinator of Myanmar's Union Enterprises for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development, told Reuters 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.

Major challenges have to be overcome.

But many Rohingya in crowded camps in Bangladesh say they are reluctant to return to Rakhine state having fled atrocities including murder, rape and arson attacks on their homes.

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Today's announcement is the latest in a significant number of EU-led actions in response to the crisis, notably: the EU co-hosted donors' conference, which took place in Geneva in October, at which the European Union pledged the leading amount of new funding, and together the EU and its Member States pledged nearly half of the overall amount; the EU's initiative to lead the resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish an independent, global Fact-Finding Mission for the situation in Northern Rakhine State, and then to extend its mandate; as well as several high-level visits to Bangladesh and Myanmar, which enabled direct contacts with the authorities, both by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Christos Stylianides. A comprehensive implementation of the Rakhine Advisory Commission recommendations is essential to ensure sustainable return. The military, which is accused of bad human rights abuses, still runs northern Rakhine State. We look to Myanmar to urgently implement these recommendations.

Dharmanagar: As many as six Rohingya Muslims were arrested from the railway station here on Saturday night.

Mohammad Farouk, 20, who arrived in Bangladesh from Maungdaw following the August 25 attacks, said exchanging one camp for another made little difference - except "the camps in Myanmar will be far worse, because we will be confined there and there will be a risk to our lives".

It does not cover Rohingya refugees who were living in Bangladesh prior to that date who the United Nations estimates number at 200,000.

These refugees had initially chosen to stay near the border to remain close to their homes. "Until they consider us citizens we won't go back".

In the last two days more than four hundred of these refugees have been taken by buses to Kutupalong camp where they underwent medical checks, and received hot meals, emergency relief items as well as shelter kits.

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