NAY PYI DAW, Myanmar The Myanmar government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday to pave the way for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of refugees from northern Rakhine, said UNHCR-Myanmar spokesman Paul Vrieze.

Myanmar Times reported the MoU establishes a framework for cooperation aimed at creating the conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of refugees to their places of origin or of their choosing.

Vrieze said that by signing the agreement the government of Myanmar confirms its responsibility for the safety, reception and reintegration of returning refugees and for the overall coordination and implementation of any voluntary repatriation, supported by UNHCR and UNDP.

The government said the MoU defines the roles of the UNDP and UNHCR in the various stages of return and resettlement (of refugees), and to support access to livelihoods through the design and implementation of community-based intervention.

It is suppose to establish a framework delineating the involvement of the UNHCR as a third party in the repatriation in line with the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh signed last November.

The UN estimates that over 700,000 Muslims fled violence in northern Rakhine since August last year when Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) fighters and their supporters simultaneously attacked dozens of government security outposts and the Tatmadaw (military) launched a brutal counterinsurgency campaign.

Source: Nam News Network