Bangladesh will start collecting data from next week as part of the process of repatriating the Rohingyas who have entered the country after fleeing violence in Myanmar.
The commissioner of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC), Abul Kalam, said he received the forms from Myanmar for collecting the data earlier this week, reports Radio Free Asia.
According to the Myanmar news outlet, a nine-member committee was formed to collect the information required by Myanmar for the repatriation.
The committee includes members from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and other departments of the Bangladesh government.
“The data collection work will begin from Sunday (January 7),” Kalam told BenarNews. “However, the forms will not be distributed among the refugees.”
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The RRRC commissioner said they keep a database of the Myanmar nationals who have entered Bangladesh, and the data will be matched with the data collected by the committee before handing over the completed forms to Myanmar.
The actual repatriation will commence after the Myanmar government verifies the data on the displaced persons, which will include details like their name, age, gender, parents, children and home village.
Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement on November 23 last year to begin repatriating some of the 655,000 Rohingya who entered Bangladesh following a crackdown by the Myanmar military which began on August 25.
To supervise the process, the two nations agreed to form a 30-member joint working group headed by their foreign secretaries, but this is yet to hold any meetings.
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Myanmar has proposed holding the first meeting on January 9, but Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, M Shahriar Alam, told BenarNews that the first meeting could take place by January 15.
This would be only one week before the first group of at least 100,000 Rohingyas are scheduled to leave for Myanmar, according to a December 29 statement from Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader.
Myint Kyaing, the permanent secretary of the Myanmar Ministry of Labour, Immigration, and Population, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that Myanmar was ready to take back the Rohingyas, and that they would begin doing so “on the day they receive the forms from Bangladesh”.