Myanmar has verified only 374 Rohingyas from the list of 8032 for possible repatriation from Bangladesh to their homeland in Rakhine state, says an official.
“Yes, the Myanmar side conveyed it to our Embassy in Yangon,” Relief and Refugee Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam told UNB on Wednesday night.
Asked whether the verified Rohingyas are ready to go back to Myanmar, he said they are yet to talk to them over the matter.
Permanent Secretary at Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Myint Thu briefed media on Wednesday in Naypyitaw saying they had scrutinised the lists handed over by Bangladesh in February.
Bangladesh had handed over a list of 1,673 Rohingya families (8,032 individuals) to Myanmar to start the first phase of repatriation of the displaced people to their homeland in Rakhine state.
There was no specific timeframe to start the repatriation but Bangladesh had expressed the hope that it would start soon.
On November 23, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an ‘arrangement’ on the return of displaced Myanmar persons sheltered in Bangladesh.
They later signed a document on ‘Physical Arrangement’ which will facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.
The ‘Physical Arrangement’ stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the commencement of repatriation.
In the past six months, almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar.
Since the influx began, local residents in the Cox’s Bazar have been struggling with major challenges from overstretched infrastructure to major hikes in food prices.
On Tuesday, United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng said the scorched earth campaign carried out by the Myanmar security forces since August 2017 against the Rohingya population was "predictable and preventable".
"Despite the numerous warnings I’ve made of the risk of atrocity crimes, and the international community has buried its head in the sand. This has cost the Rohingya population of Myanmar their lives, their dignity and their homes," he said.