YANGON: Myanmar's government will set up a working group to conduct a systematic verification process for "urgent repatriation" of refugees - hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled Rakhine State to Bangladesh over the past few weeks, according to the office of the country's de facto leader and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
The repatriation will be carried out in accordance with the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh in 1993, according to a statement posted on the office's Facebook page on Friday night (Sep 22).
The decision was reached at a meeting between Aung San Suu Kyi and members of the Implementation Committee for the Recommendations on Rakhine State in the country's capital, Nay Pyi Taw.
"She also highlighted the importance of the verification process, the designation of places to receive those who have fled Myanmar, the establishment of the Working Group for the verification process, and the rehabilitation and resettlement programmes not only for the Muslims but also for Rakhines, Mro, Daing-net and Mramagyi as well as the Hindu minority who had to flee their places due to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) terrorists’ attacks," the statement said.
Besides the working group, the Myanmar government will also organise a trip for foreign diplomats to Rakhine State next week. The decision came days after Aung San Suu Kyi's televised address, where she invited diplomats to visit the troubled state and speak to Muslim residents who have stayed amid the ongoing exodus of more than 420,000 Rohingyas.
The mass migration was prompted by a deadly attack on 30 Rakhine official posts by ARSA. Twelve people died in the incident, which triggered "clearance operations" by government security forces.
Their counter-insurgency offensive took place amid allegations of large-scale murder, mass rape, torture and arson attacks on Rohingya civilians and drew harsh criticism from the global community on Aung San Suu Kyi and her government, which won a landslide victory in a historic general election in 2015.
The Friday meeting also concluded that Myanmar will share lists of "terrorist attackers" with the Bangladeshi government, INTERPOL and the United Nations. It will also once again invite Bangladesh's Home Affairs Minister to discuss bilateral cooperation on border security.
"The State Counsellor also directed that the decision reached at the meeting must be implemented immediately," the statement said.