Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Myanmar readies camp for returning Rohingya refugees, to accommodate around 30000

Myanmar readies camp for returning Rohingya refugees, to accommodate around 30000

Bangladesh and Myanmar finalized on Tuesday an agreement on repatriation of Rohingya refugees within the next two years, local media reported.

The First Meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on the return of the displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar's Rakhine State, was held on January 15-16 in Nay Pyi Taw.

The exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh started after fighting broke out between Rohingya militants and security forces last summer.

Though Myanmar says it would provide citizenship to some Rohingya, they have no reason to trust Myanmar, said Asif Munier.

At least 655,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh so far to escape military persecution in Rakhine since late August in 2017. The "clearance operations" - which the United Nations, the US and others have called "ethnic cleansing" - appear to have been aimed at removing members of the Muslim minority from the country. They are generally called "Bengalis", a reference to the belief that they migrated illegally from Bangladesh.

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In May past year, Cyclone Mora barrelled through the region, destroying approximately one quarter of the makeshift shelters in Rohingya refugee camps and causing widespread damage.

Verification and return will be based on considering the family as a unit.

"And if we get a nationality identity card in Myanmar, then we are more than willing to go back".

Security agencies must try to prevent the entry of illegal migrants because it would be very hard to deport them once they cross over, Union home minister Rajnath Singh had said during a border management meeting in Kolkata with chief ministers of eastern and northeastern states that share borders with Bangladesh.

The statement said that Myanmar had reiterated its commitment to stop outflow of Myanmar residents to Bangladesh.

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They live in what is being described as the "world's biggest refugee camp".

The governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to do it within 2 years.

The 124-acre Hla Po Khaung camp will accommodate about 30,000 people in 625 buildings, with at least 100 buildings to be completed by the end of the month.

Contacted, Asif Munier, an independent researcher and former official of the IOM, said, "It is absurd for a Rohingya to think of returning to Myanmar voluntarily because Myanmar has not taken any such measure that makes Rakhine safe for them and guarantees their rights".

UNHCR's Gluck told Al Jazeera that Rohingya refugees say they would only consider return if they see positive developments in relation to their legal status and citizenship, the security situation in Rakhine State, and their ability to enjoy basic rights back home.

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Rights groups and United Nations investigtors say they have gathered comprehensive testimony of massacres and campaings of sexual violence against Rohingya women, while satellite photos show the complete destruction of scores of Rohingya villages.

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