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UNHCR sees new avenues to resolve Rohingya crisis PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Repatriation of remaining 27,000 Rohingya refugees

Staff Correspondent

The visiting head of the UN's refugee agency, António Guterres, said Tuesday new opportunities had opened up before the international community to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

"Enhanced cooperation" started between reclusive Myanmar and the international community since the cyclone Nargis hit the Buddhist nation, said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, said that sending the Rohingyas to the US, Canada or European countries was not adequate to relieve Bangladesh of remaining 27,000 Rohingya Muslims now languishing in Cox's Bazar.

"Enhanced cooperation now exists between Myanmar and the international community will create new opportunities in the future for more meaningful dialogue with Myanmar (to resolve the Rohingya problem)," Guterres told reporters after his meeting with foreign affairs adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury at state guesthouse Padma.

Guterres came to Bangladesh on Monday a two-day visit. He visited Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar and had talks with chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed and other government officials.

By enhanced cooperation, he meant that Myanmar had been cooperating with the international community to help the cyclone-hit people.

"We have discussed that we will be working together."

"The government of Bangladesh and the UNHCR in our dialogue with and the government of Myanmar to create the conditions for voluntary return, in safety and integrity, of the Rohingyas to Myanmar to be possible in near future."

He denied that his agency had not proposed granting the Rohingya refugees Bangladeshi citizenship.

"We have a resettlement programme that is taking place for several countries around the world. Canada has been the one that has received more Rohingyas in the recent past," he said.

"We don't think the resettlement programme is sufficiently developed. And we will be advocating in relation to other countries to increase the quotas of Rohingyas in the future," said Guterres.

Canada was the largest recipient of the Rohingya refugees.

The Rohingyas could be resettled in the US, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and some South American countries, he said.

"We have been trying to find ways of holding a trilateral—Bangladesh, Myanmar and the UNHCR—dialogue to create a condition for voluntary return of the refugees," Iftekhar told reporters.

He said the Rohingya problem would be resolved "very soon".

A total of registered 27,000 and 10,000 unregistered Rohingya refugees Muslims from Myanmar's northern Rakhain state have been living in Bangladesh since the military junta in the former Burma started crackdown on them in early 1990s.

The government of Bangladesh, Myanmar and the UNHCR singed a deal on repatriation of the Rohingyas in 1992. As per the deal, 2.31 lakh registered Rohingyas voluntarily returned to their homeland.

But the reaming 27,000 registered refugees have been refusing to return home fearing prosecution by the Myanmar military regime.

The fate of the remaining 10,000 unregistered refugees is hanging in the balance as Bangladesh does not recognise them as refugees.

Comments Add New
Nur Hasim  - The remaing refugees in Bangladesh should be reset |2008-10-21 10:06:29
The 27,000 registered Rohingya refugees and 10,000 unregistered refugee have been living in Bangladesh refugee camp under regulation of UNHCR are unwilling to go back their home country Myanmar fear of persecution by the military Junta.

The UNHCR and International Community should resettle all refugees in third countries.

Thanks,
Canada.
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