No one should be allowed to politicise the repatriation process

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  • Myanmar is ready to begin repatriation of refugees, ensuring human rights, tolerance and security for them.
    We’ve already notified the Bangladesh side that 374 refugees are verified and can immediately start repatriation at their convenience.
    We sent about 1,250 names, consisting of 508 people of Hindu faith and 750 people of Muslim faith, during the first Joint Working Group Meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw on 15-16 January 2018. We are awaiting their repatriation.
    We have recently received a list of 8,032 people from Bangladesh during the Myanmar-Bangladesh Home Ministers’ Meeting held in Dhaka on 16 February.
    The verification process was accordingly conducted by our immigration authorities. However, it was found out that the forms received from Bangladesh were not the Verification Form agreed upon by both sides during the First Meeting of the Joint Working Group.
    To our surprise, on 7 March some international media reported that a senior member of the Bangladesh cabinet voiced his pessimistic view on our repatriation efforts.
    The refugees are not refusing to return due to fear. There are high expectations that have lured them into that and there also expectations from ARSA and their supporters. Concerning their security, we have done all we can, but we alone are not responsible to take care of their security. Because it is ARSA who tried to interrupt the process by setting off explosions such as landmines while we were starting our repatriation process.
    UEHRD is also working to create economic opportunities for returnees and providing effective humanitarian aid. They are holding negotiations for resettlement and for development of the economy and long-lasting peace.
    For security, what we can guarantee is that anyone who comes back will have a secure environment as anywhere else in the country.
    We would like to remind the international media that our country was in successful democratic transition because of the help of the international media. That’s why in the future, we would like to request the international media to support our democratisation process and the development of our country.
    So we implore the media to get the whole narrative rather than cherry picking and choosing parts of the story that are very sensational and can be put in headlines. Please try to put in more balanced views. That is all we can hope for and that is the purpose of this press conference.
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