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Last Update: 14 Hour and 26 Minute ago
News code: 25253
Published Date: Sunday 15 April 2018 - 09:19:49

UN, Bangladesh Sign MoU on Rohingya Repatriation

UN, Bangladesh Sign MoU on Rohingya Repatriation
World  - Bangladesh and the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) signed a memorandum of understanding Friday that establishes a framework of bilateral cooperation for the voluntary, safe and dignified repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, United Nations officials said.

The memorandum (MoU), signed in Geneva by U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque, could affect about 700,000 Rohingya who fled a violent crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine state in August 2017.

UNHCR's MoU with Bangladesh "reaffirms the general principles of voluntary returns in safety and dignity," Andrej Mahecic, a spokesman for the U.N. agency based at its headquarters in Geneva, told BenarNews.

The memorandum outlines broadly the roles for both the government of Bangladesh and UNHCR in any future return movements - in informing refugees about conditions in the return areas, data sharing, verification of voluntariness and assistance in returns, he said in an email.

The MoU provides a framework of cooperation between the agency and Bangladesh, he added, on "the safe, voluntary and dignified returns of refugees in line with international standards, if and when the conditions are right and refugees decide they want to return."

But UNHCR considers that conditions in Myanmar "are not yet conducive for returns to be safe, dignified, and sustainable," Mahecic said.

In the absence of a three-way MoU between the U.N. agency and Bangladesh and Myanmar on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, UNHCR was seeking a similar bilateral understanding with Naypyidaw, it said in a news release about the signing of the memorandum with Bangladesh.

"The responsibility for creating such conditions remains with the Myanmar authorities, and these must go beyond the preparation of physical infrastructure to facilitate logistical arrangements," UNHCR said while calling on Myanmar authorities to allow "full and unhindered" access to Rakhine.

Such access was necessary to assess the situation there and monitor any future return of Rohingya from refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh, the agency said.

News Code: 25253
Published Date: Sunday 15 April 2018 - 09:19:49
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