Rohingya Repatriation: Chinese, Myanmar officials in Cox’s Bazar

Cox’s Bazar Correspondent
Published : 15:44, Aug 22, 2019 | Updated : 15:56, Aug 22, 2019

Rohingya refugees gather at a market inside a refugee camp in Cox`s Bazar, Bangladesh, March 7, 2019. REUTERS

Two Chinese and one Myanmar officials are currently in Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar to supervise the second attempt at repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar. 

The Rohingyas were scheduled to be sent back through Kerontoli Ghat broder point at Teknaf and Tambru border point at Ghumdhum in Bandarban’s Naikhongchhari on Thursday (Aug 22).

Officials from the Chinese and Myanmar embassies are scheduled to visit the various Rohingya camps in Ukhiya and Teknaf on Thursday, said Commissioner for Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Mohammad Abul Kalam.

The process has so far not begun as none of the Rohingyas enlisted for repatriation showed up, expressing their unwillingness to return at this moment.

After an attack on Burmese military outpost in August 2017, the army in Myanmar cracked down on the Rohingyas which saw around 700,000 people come to Bangladesh for safety.

Currently, around 1.1 million Rohingyas are staying in different camps in Teknaf.

A repatriation deal was signed in 2018 with Nov 15, 2018, set as the date but fear of further violence and the possibility of being incarcerated in camps, compelled Rohingyas to remain in Bangladesh.

A second attempt at repatriation was decided on after a 15-member delegation, led by Myanmar Foreign Secretary Mint Tho, visited the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and held discussions with the refugees in July last. 

RRC Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said that the Myanmar government had given the Rohingyas recognition as a minority community of the country and the Rohingyas had been informed about this accordingly.

The RRC Commissioner said that they had spoken to 235 Rohingya families in the last two days since Tuesday (Aug 20) and many of them had expressed their willingness to return.

Although a list of 1,037 families had been enlisted for repatriation for the first round, the authorities were yet to confirm how many families would be repatriated in total if the repatriation process begins.