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Rohingya crisis: Myanmar, Bangladesh ink deal on return of refugees

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an accord on Thursday over terms for the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh, a government official said, amid concern that Myanmar’s powerful army could prove obstructive.

Rights groups have accused the military in mostly Buddhist Myanmar of carrying out mass rape and other atrocities during a counter-insurgency operation launched in late August in retaliation for attacks by Rohingya militants in Rakhine state.

The “Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State” does not set a deadline for the return of the refugees but reports suggested the Rohingya could start returning to their homes within two months. The two sides also agreed to form a joint working group to start the repatriation process.

On Wednesday, the United States said the military operation that drove 620,000 Rohingya to seek sanctuary in neighbouring, largely Muslim Bangladesh, amounted to “ethnic cleansing”, echoing an accusation first levelled by top UN officials in the early days of the humanitarian crisis.

Myanmar is seeking to ease international pressure by striking an initial agreement on returns, while Dhaka wants to ensure overstretched refugee camps that have mushroomed in the Cox’s Bazar region don’t become permanent.

Source- Reuters 

 
 
           
 
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