Myanmar said yesterday it has agreed to the involvement of United Nations agencies in repatriating Rohingya refugees who have fled to neighboring Bangladesh.
Citing State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, a state-owned newspaper reported Wednesday that the government is discussing signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "In particular, the engagement of U.N. agencies in Rakhine [state] will strengthen the government's ability to ensure that refugees can return safely, without fear," she was quoted as saying in the report.
Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a deal for the return of refugees earlier this year, but with the repatriation delayed, concern is growing as Myanmar has refused to allow any international body, including the UN, to oversee the process until very recently.
The move came as a delegation of diplomats from the U.N. Security Council visited the country this week to see developments on the ground in conflict-torn Rakhine. The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012. Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the U.N.
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