Refugee repatriation uncertain

Dhaka: Repatriation of refugees to Burma is uncertain though Burma has agreed in principles to take back refugees from Bangladesh, said observers.

Burma has agreed in principles to take back its Muslim refugees in Bangladesh in the deputy foreign minister-level meeting of the two countries, which was held from 1st to 2nd July.

The Burmese delegation are said to have told their Bangladeshi counterparts in the meeting that the refugees who provide sufficient evidence they are Burmese citizens would be accepted for repatriation according to the agreement.

Moreover, the Burmese delegation also said in the meeting that their country would not be able to receive any refugees from Bangladesh at the moment because of the sectarian violent unrest in Arakan State, said the Bangladeshi officials.

There are nearly 29,000 Muslim refugees from Burma being sheltered in two UN registered camps and nearly 300,000 others undocumented refugees are also living outside the camps without having any official documents in Bangladesh, said the officials.

Burma is said to have agreed to take back 9095 people out of the 29,000 UN recognized refugees in 2005 and 2415 persons from the remaining refugees in 2009 respectively because they were accepted as the Burmese citizen.

It is however learnt that no refugee can be repatriated due to Burma’s weakness in cooperation with the process.

It is also learnt that Burma is reluctant to accept its refugees from Bangladesh despite its repeated promises to do so in every bilateral meeting.

The refugees who are now living in the two official camps of Nayapara and Kutupalong are those who have arrived in Bangladesh since 1992.

The deputy foreign minister-level meeting was held between the six-member Burmese delegations led by the Deputy Foreign Minister and nine-member Bangladeshi delegations led by Foreign Secretary Mirazul Qayat in Dhaka.

It is learnt that the regular items of road construction, boosting of trade, opening of sea routes and airways, cooperation in agricultural sectors and buying of energy and hydro-electricity were discussed in the meeting.