A Myanmar delegation led by U Myint Thu, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar visited Dhaka, Bangladesh from 15 to 18 May 2018 to attend the Second Meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on the Repatriation of Verified Displaced Persons. The delegation included representatives from various Ministries and the Rakhine State government.
The Second JWG Meeting was held at the State Guest House of Bangladesh on 17 May 2018. The meeting was co-chaired by U Myint Thu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar and Mr. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh.
During the Meeting, both sides exchanged views on the repatriation process, including conducive environment, safety and security for the prospective returnees, current situation of displaced persons in Bangladesh, updates on the displaced persons from the international boundary line, dissemination of information among the returnees and confidence building, and the involvement of the United Nations Agencies in the process of repatriation and resettlement.
The Myanmar side informed the Meeting on its concerted efforts and preparations for the repatriation and resettlement process, including the UEHRD’s activities, verification process, the issuance of the National Verification Card (NVC), and the ongoing discussion between the Myanmar Government and the UN agencies for cooperation in the repatriation, resettlement and reintegration process.
The Myanmar side reiterated its readiness to receive the verified displaced persons from Bangladesh and urged the Bangladeshi side to commence the repatriation of the earlier verified 778 Muslims and 444 Hindus as well as 1101 verified persons (as of 2 May 2018) out of 8,032 persons received from the Bangladeshi side. The Myanmar side also sought cooperation of the Bangladesh side in terminating and demolition of structures recently built in the non-construction zone of the border line, since the construction of those structures breached Article 14 of the “Treaty between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the Demarcation of the Land Section of the Boundary North of the Naaf River signed in 1998.
Furthermore, the Myanmar side urged the Bangladeshi side to provide information on its readiness to commence the repatriation process including the completion of transit camps at the Bangladeshi side as well as the promotion of awareness among the prospective returnees on the bilateral agreements between the two countries and the agreed verification forms to be shared with them.
The Myanmar delegation called upon the international community to work together to create a conducive environment to restoring peace and stability, harmony and sustained socio-economic development for all people in Rakhine State.
The Myanmar side shared its belief that mutual understanding and constructive cooperation based on the principles of objectivity, mutual respect and bilateral agreements would bring about a positive outcome in the repatriation process.
The third Joint Working Group meeting will be held in Nay Pyi Taw and the dates and venue will be communicated through the diplomatic channel.