Need more verification time for Rohingya repatriation, says Myanmar minister


Talking to Radio Free Asia, Myat Aye said the repatriation has been delayed as the refugees did not fill up the forms in line with the agreement signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

As per the joint response plan, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners are asking for $951 million to provide emergency assistance and protection services to vulnerable Rohingya people as well as locals affected by the influx of refugees.

Myanmar is not ready for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, said the most senior United Nations official to visit the country this year, after Myanmar was accused of instigating ethnic cleansing and driving almost 700,000 Muslims to Bangladesh. The group would be "the first batch" of refugees and could come back to Myanmar "when it was convenient for them", a Myanmar official said last month.

Win Myat Aye, the minister charged by Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi with leading rehabilitation efforts in the country's Rakhine State that the Rohingya call home, is likely to meet Bangladesh's foreign minister on Thursday, said the official, who declined to be identified, citing government policy.

Over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine State and came to Bangladesh following the military crackdown on them since August 25 past year.

Burma's security forces launched brutal counterattacks against Rohingya Muslims after a Rohingya insurgent group attacked police outposts on August 25.

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Burma has repeatedly denied the accusations, maintaining that it is carrying out a legitimate campaign against armed terrorists who attacked government forces.

Myanmar has said it has already verified several hundred Rohingya refugees for possible repatriation.

Two Myanmar Reuters journalists, Myanmar nationals Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were investigating the massacre when they were arrested in December on the outskirts of Yangon for possessing classified documents that could land them up to 14 years in jail if convicted.

She said conditions are not conducive for the return of the refugees as there is no access to health as well as no preparations for people to go to their homelands.

Bangladesh and Myanmar will maintain a good relationship and work together on this issue, he said.