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Myanmar says Rohingya repatriation begins in 2 weeks

Myanmar says Rohingya repatriation begins in 2 weeks
Welfare minister says refugees will be temporarily kept in camps

By Kyaw Ye Lynn

YANGON, Myanmar (AA) - The repatriation of thousands of people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, from Bangladesh will begin in two weeks, said a senior Myanmar government official on Friday.

Myanmar has been verifying more than 8,000 people from nearly 1,700 households in a list handed over by the Bangladeshi government earlier in February.

"Verification of their residence will be completed soon. So we will be ready to take back the first group of returnees in two weeks," Win Myat Aye, minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement, told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

Wing, also chair of the implementation committee on recommendations of Kofi Annan-led advisory commission for Rakhine state, added that Myanmar would take 300 returnees from Bangladesh every day.

The returnees will be kept in three repatriation camps temporarily till their verification process is completed.

"Then they will be allowed to settle at their residence," he said.

More than 750,000 refugees, including women and children, have fled Myanmar's western Rakhine state since August 25, 2017, mostly to bordering Bangladesh, when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.

Another 6,500 refugees are living in a buffer zone between the two countries.

The Myanmar government earlier this week said it would take back these refugees after ensuring no militant was hiding among them.

"Regarding their verification, we would only cooperate with Bangladesh if necessary. We would not let any other organization or the UN to get involved in the process," Win said.

London-based Burma Human Rights Network pleaded to the international community on Friday to continue providing aid to the refugees stranded between the two countries.

"The Rohingya stranded between Burma and Bangladesh are there attempting to save their own lives," said the organisation's head Kyaw Win in a statement.

"Any policy which would further deny them access to aid or refuge would be devastating and inhumane," he added.

At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published on Dec. 12, 2017, the global humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

source: News Feed
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