Myanmar to Modify 1993 Repatriation Agreement With Bangladesh

Email story
Comment on this story
Print story
Rohingya Muslim refugees line up for food at Balukhali refugee camp in southeastern Bangladesh's Ukhiya district, Oct. 4, 2017.
Rohingya Muslim refugees line up for food at Balukhali refugee camp in southeastern Bangladesh's Ukhiya district, Oct. 4, 2017.

Myanmar is working to modify a 1993 agreement with Bangladesh allowing the return of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya who have fled the country amid armed clashes between Muslim insurgents and government security forces, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The changes will be made in consultation with Bangladesh and will “add more points to the agreement,” Myint Kyaing, permanent secretary of the Department of Immigration and Population, told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

“The agreement was made in 1993, and it is now 2017,” Myint Kyaing said. “A very long time has passed, and the situation has changed.”

“Four major points from the 1993 agreement will remain the same, but we will add more points after discussing this with the Bangladesh government,” he said, without elaborating on which points would be kept and which would need to be added.

“Forms will be delivered only after both countries sign on to the agreement, and people will have to fill them out, stating where they were born in Rakhine state, in what year they were born, and what documentation they were holding when they lived in Rakhine,” he said.

“Refugees can return when a government-approved verification team approves the forms.”

“We will accept anybody back who is approved,” he said.

Crimes against humanity

Just over 600,000 stateless Rohingya Muslims have fled to southeastern Bangladesh since late August, when Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown against suspected Rohingya militants in Rakhine state, which lies along the border, according to reporting by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

Rights groups, the United Nations, and some of the half-million Rohingya who fled to safety in Bangladesh have accused soldiers of committing atrocities against the minority group amounting to genocide and crimes against humanity.

The Myanmar government, however, denies the allegations and has accused Muslim militants of burning down villages and attacking and killing non-Muslim residents.

Camps set up to receive returning refugees have now been created in Taung Pyo Let Wae and Nga Khu Ya villages in northern Rakhine’s Maungdaw township, Myint Kyaing told RFA.

“There is a bridge with checkpoints at each end in Taung Pyo Let Wae village,” Myint Kyaing said, adding, “If we see people coming in without approved forms, we can immediately send them back to the Bangladeshi border security team.”

In a statement on Monday, Myanmar’s opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) said that it will closely monitor any changes planned to the repatriation agreement, saying these would have to acceptable to the majority-Buddhist residents of Rakhine.

“We are monitoring which points in the existing agreement the two governments would discuss, which points would be added and which points would be scrapped,” USDP official U Wunna Maung Lwin told reporters, the online Irrawaddy news service said in a report.

'Can't live together'

Residents of 36 ethnic Rakhine villages have meanwhile vowed to leave the area if Rohingya refugees are brought back to their former homes nearby, citing fears that terrorists will be placed among those returned.

“We have all decided to leave if these Bengalis are resettled near our villages,” one villager, named Kyaw Win, said following a meeting held at Yan Aung Myin village in northern Maungdaw. “Bengali” is a derogatory term in Myanmar for Rohingya.

“We have lived next to them in the past and have never made any trouble, but they have been making many problems for us during the last five years, and it has been getting worse and worse,” he said. “We can’t live together anymore.”

Separately, the Thailand-based Women’s League of Burma (WLB) called on Oct. 31 for an end to what they described as “widespread propaganda” driving racial tensions and insecurity among Rakhine’s ethnic communitities.

“WLB believes that this violence has been deliberately created and fuelled by certain groups who do not want sustainable peace in Burma,” the group said, using another name for Myanmar.

Reported by Thiri Min Zin and Min Thein Aung for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Comments (3)


The Burmese Government must listen to native local peoples' voice. Government has duty to listen and fulfill their wished.
The local Buddhist peoples' voice has been ignored by UN and International Human Rights organizations and blamed everything on Buddhists for conflict between two communities. The real victims are local Buddhist peoples and not Bengali Muslims. The Buddhist villagers were robbed, murdered and raped by Bengali Muslims for many years. They have been tolerated and hosting those illegal immigrant Bengali Muslims from Bangladesh. However, the UN and International Human Rights organizations are accusing Buddhist peoples as aggressors and attacked on the Bengali Muslim peoples. Neither side can guarantee there will be no crashed between Buddhists and Bengali Muslims in future because the Bengali Muslims’ goal was to establish independent the Islamic State in Northern Rakhine State by begin with UN monitor’s Safe Zone.
The ARSA wills more active in Rakhine State in future because it supporters in Middle-East will give more money to buy weapons to the ARSA. The Middle-East Arab Governments will do everything for to root Islamic terrorist the ARSA group in Rakhine State, Burma.
It was obviously if you look at current the Rakhine conflict. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussien had used his UN OHCHR’s power to put pressure on Burmese Government at UN General Conference and UN Security Council. However, it wasn’t 100% successes because the Islamic terrorist group the ARSA committing serious crime of mass killing of Hindu villagers was uncovered just before the UNSC meeting was start. The Arab Governments didn’t give up and they pressured US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to take action against Burma. The French Government was already bowed to the Arab Governments demand for to take action against Burmese Government and Military. Those all countries have big business interest in Middle-East. Thus, they don’t hesitate for to throw innocent Burmese Government under the wheels. There’s no faire go policy in this world today. Even the UN Secretary General was not neutral at all.
Burma is poor country and most of resources were sold out or stolen by former dictator Gen Than Shwe and the former President Thein Sein and their families and cronies.
However, Burmese peoples will survive if the Western Governments imposed economic sanction on Burma.
The Arab Governments lead OIC pressured to the EU, US, Canada and UK Governments
to impose economy sanction against Burma will destroy chance of coexistence two Buddhists and Bengali Muslim communities in Rakhine State.
The Bengali Muslim population needs to control once they came back to Rakhine State. The Bengali Muslim men have more than one wife and as much as 18 children in one family. The Bengali Muslim was not minority community in Rakhine State.
Also, the international media have unfairly treated to Buddhists in Burma and the Burmese Government. They were so biased against Buddhists. The international reporters are addicting to negative information and they are going after easy meal feeding by the Bengali Muslim group rather than reporting the fact.
Anyway, they should check themselves whether they still have integrity or not. If they still believed in truth and fair go for everyone and then they have time to redeem their mistake.

Nov 01, 2017 02:11 PM

Thein Mg

Myanmar should adopt the Malaya Bumiputra/Non-Bumiputra principle with modifications to suit the Bengali Refugees.
Similarly the proposal by Bangladesh to require sterilisation should be applied to keep the Bengali Rohingyas breeding out of proportions.

Nov 01, 2017 03:39 AM

Thein Mg

if Myanmar is to accept Bengali Rohingya Muslims back, they should be classified something similar to the Malaysian Non-Bumiputra classification with conditions peculiar to Myanmar, especially the question of birth control.
Also the repatriation of the Bengalis that entered Myanmar during 2 events in Bangladesh of 1970/71 & 1975
British FO records of conversation between the Bangladesh Ambassador Mr. Khawaja M Kaiser and the British Ambassador Mr. Terence O'Brien on the question of Bangladesh refugees of more than 1 million crossing over during the 2 events in Bangladesh.

Oct 31, 2017 05:22 PM





More Listening Options

View Full Site