Bangladesh and Myanmar on Tuesday finalised the agreement that says refugees from the Rohingya community should be repatriated to Myanmar, The Dhaka Tribune reported. The pact makes it mandatory to complete the process within two years after Dhaka starts sending back the refugees.
The pact, which was decided during meetings between Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary Mohammad Shahidul Haque and Myanmar Permanent Secretary Myint Thu in Naypyidaw on Monday and Tuesday, will come into effect from January 23.
The Bangladesh delegation said that orphans and “children born out of unwarranted incidence”, a reference to rapes that result in pregnancies, would also be sent back.
“We had proposed to repatriate 15,000 Rohingyas every week but they [Myanmar] did not agree to it,” Bangladesh Ambassador to Myanmar Sufiur Rahman said. “They have agreed to take back 300 Rohingyas per day. Some 1,500 Rohingyas will be sent back in a week.”
Bangladesh will set up five transit camps to send the Rohingyas to two reception centres on the Myanmar side of the border. “Myanmar has reiterated its commitment to stop [the] outflow of residents to Bangladesh,” the Bangladeshi delegation said.
A few non-government organisations greeted the development with scepticism as the bilateral agreement does not touch upon the questions of safety, livelihoods and permanent resettlement of the refugees, Reuters reported.
“Where are considerations for protection of the Rohingya from Myanmar security forces who months ago were raping and killing them?” Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, asked. “How come the discussions ignore the deprivation of rights of people held in indefinite detention, which is what these so-called ‘temporary’ accommodations may become?”