MYANMAR: RAKHINE STATE REFUGEES WILL RETURN IF SECURITY GUARANTEED

NAY PYI DAW, Myanmar The hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled violence in Rakhine State to Bangladesh will return home only if security and citizenship are guaranteed by the Myanmar Government, reported the Myanmar Times, an English-language newspaper.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener met with the refugees during a visit to Bangladesh last week after attending a peace conference in Myanmar.

She also met with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and other senior officials.

Burgener in a statement underlined the importance of a voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of the refugees to their homes.

The situation in Rakhine would require a political solution and greater international assistance to the refugees and the host communities in addressing the harsh conditions they faced, she said.

She added the UN supported the memorandum of understanding signed by the Myanmar Government, UN Development Programme and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as an important first step.

Burgener said her priority was to help address the cause of the crisis through implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, in particular, ending restrictions on basic rights such as freedom of movement and resolving the citizenship issue.

There is urgency for all concerned to take concrete measures towards these goals. The United Nations stands ready to provide the relevant experience and expertise in this regard.

In June, the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Resettlement and Development in Rakhine released a report stating the government had issued over 2,200 national verification cards, and about 300 people received citizenship recognition.

According to the UNHCR, more than 700,000 Muslims have fled the recent violence in Myanmar.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement last year to repatriate Rakhine Muslims who fled to Bangladesh after two waves of attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on security forces in the past two years and a brutal counter-insurgency campaign.

Source: NAM News Network