Rohingya refugee children sit during a protest held to mark the five year anniversary of the mass migration of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh, at a makeshift camp in Kutubpalang, Ukhiya, Cox Bazar district, Bangladesh, 25 August 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/MONIRUL ALAM

Myanmar delegation visits Bangladesh to verify Rohingyas for planned repatriation

Dhaka, Nov 1 (EFE).- A delegation from Myanmar was visiting Bangladesh on Wednesday to verify Rohingya refugees ahead of their planned repatriation to the country.

The office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner of Bangladesh said that the Myanmar delegation also came to Bangladesh on Tuesday to verify the refugees under three separate pilot projects for repatriation.

“They arrived yesterday and returned to Myanmar after completing their day’s work. They came back again today. We hope they will be able to finish their job today,” Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mizanur Rahman told EFE.

Rahman said that Myanmar officials were mainly verifying the extended family members of some 3000 Rohingyas selected earlier for repatriation.

Bangladesh’s authorities said earlier this year that they were working to send 1,176 Rohingyas back to Myanmar under a pilot project.

Rahman said that another two other pilot projects, each involving 1,000 Rohingyas, had been added to it.

“Myanmar authorities have already verified these people. Officials have arrived now to verify extended family members, such as the wives of newlyweds or newborn children,” he said.

The Bangladesh official, however, said that no date had yet been fixed to start the repatriation.

Rohingyas say that they don’t see the repatriation starting anytime soon.

“We want to go back to Myanmar. But I don’t see a chance for it soon. The officials who arrived this time could not give us any clear message as to where they would take us or how they would ensure our safety and security,” Khin Maung, head of the Rohingya Youth Association, told EFE.

Around 936,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from neighboring Myanmar to Bangladesh, including 774,000 who survived a wave of violence and persecution by the Myanmar military in August 2017.

The crackdown has led to allegations of ethnic cleansing and genocidal intent against the Myanmar military.

Two attempts to start their repatriation to Myanmar failed as the Rohingyas refused to return without guarantees of citizenship and safety.

The latest repatriation projects, reportedly backed by China, have remained stalled since May after a group of Rohingyas that visited Myanmar found the conditions unsuitable for return.

Myanmar initially offered to house Rohingyas in designated camps, but the refugees said they would not return to the country until they were repatriated to their own villages. EFE