Bangladesh, UNHCR to survey Rohingya regarding return to Myanmar

In this Nov. 15, 2018, file photo, Rohingya refugees shout slogans against repatriation at Unchiprang camp near Cox's Bazar, in Bangladesh. (AP)
Updated 19 August 2019

Bangladesh, UNHCR to survey Rohingya regarding return to Myanmar

  • More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine for camps in Bangladesh
  • Myanmar has cleared 3,450 people from a list of more than 22,000 refugees provided by Bangladesh

DHAKA: Bangladesh will work with the United Nations refugee agency to determine if more than 3,000 Rohingya refugees will accept Myanmar’s offer to return home, an official said on Monday, nearly a year after a major repatriation plan failed.
More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine for camps in Bangladesh after a military-led crackdown in August 2017 the United Nations has said was perpetrated with “genocidal intent,” but many refugees refuse to go back, fearing more violence.
“It will be a joint exercise led by UNHCR,” Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation commissioner, told Reuters by telephone on Monday, referring to the refugee agency.
The United Nations Security Council is due to discuss the latest repatriation plan behind closed doors on Wednesday at the request of France, Britain, the United States, Germany and Belgium, diplomats said.
Myanmar has cleared 3,450 people from a list of more than 22,000 refugees provided by Bangladesh, government spokesman Zaw Htay told a news conference in the capital Naypyitaw on Friday.
“We have already negotiated with Bangladesh to accept these 3,450 people on August 22,” he said, adding they would be divided into seven groups for repatriation.
A foreign ministry spokesman previously gave Reuters a figure of 3,540 refugees verified under the plan.
Zaw Htay said officials had scrutinized the list to determine whether the refugees had lived in Myanmar and whether they had been involved in attacks on the military.
The 2017 crackdown was preceded by attacks on security forces by insurgents calling themselves the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which Myanmar has classified as a terrorist organization.
Previous attempts at persuading Rohingya to return to Rakhine have failed due to opposition from refugees. An effort in November sowed fear and confusion in the camps, and finally failed after refugee protests.


Brussels to ‘rebuild’ ties with UK after Boris win: EU Internal Market Commissioner

Updated 13 December 2019

Brussels to ‘rebuild’ ties with UK after Boris win: EU Internal Market Commissioner

  • Both sides then still need to thrash out a new trade and security agreement
  • Any future trade deal had to ensure that the EU’s social and environmental norms were also applied to trade with Britain

PARIS: The EU will have to rebuild its ties with London after Boris Johnson’s election victory which is likely to lead to Brexit in January, the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner said on Friday.
“We now have to rebuild relations with Great Britain which is an important partner,” Thierry Breton told French RTL radio, saying the bloc wanted “balanced” trade relations with the UK.
With almost all results declared for the 650-seat British parliament, Johnson’s Conservative party has secured a sweeping victory and he is now expected to deliver on his promise to “Get Brexit Done.”
His majority should allow him to get the divorce deal he struck with Brussels through parliament in time to meet the next Brexit deadline of January 31.
Both sides then still need to thrash out a new trade and security agreement.
Breton said he expected the European Council meeting Friday in Brussels to give the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier a new mandate for talks with London.
He said Britain was a very important trade partner for the EU, “but we are by far the biggest trading partner for Britain.”
Any future trade deal had to ensure that the EU’s social and environmental norms were also applied to trade with Britain.