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Myanmar minister: Rohingyas can apply for citizenship when they go back

  • Published at 12:25 pm April 13th, 2018
Myanmar minister: Rohingyas can apply for citizenship when they go back
The repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas will begin "very soon," Myanmar's Union Minister Dr Win Myat Aye has said after meeting Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali. "We have overcome many difficulties … I am very sure that we can start repatriation of Rohingyas as soon as possible," the Myanmar minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement told the media in Dhaka on Thursday. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and concerned officials of both countries joined the meeting, which Aye called "very fruitful." "We work together with Bangladesh government to make sure to start repatriation process as soon as possible," he said, adding that he had already discussed the issue with UNHCR and UNDP. The minister's comments came a day after he visited the makeshift Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar, the first by a Myanmar representative. Aye also spoke to several representatives of the displaced people of his country. Replying to a query on the fate of Rohingyas citizenship on their return, Aye said the returnees would get citizenship according to the law of Myanmar. "First, they (Rohingyas) have to get National Verification Card to apply for citizenship and the (Myanmar) authority will give them citizenship status after scrutiny," he said. The Myanmar minister said an "agreed form" to be filled up by the Rohingyas appeared to be a possible difficulty in the repatriation process, adding that if they filled it up "the registration process would be easier."
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Mahmood Ali, on the other hand, said that the meeting discussed the impediments for the safe, dignified and sustainable return of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar. He said that Bangladesh requested Myanmar for rebuilding the villages for repatriating Rohingyas in their homeland in Rakhine state. Ali said Myanmar delegation responded positively to the request saying they already undertook the rebuilding process with the help of many countries. "We, the both sides, have agreed that the returnees should not stay for more than a few days in transit camps," the Bangladesh foreign minister said. He said the Myanmar delegation told Bangladesh side that they also took many new ideas for improving the livelihood of the returnees. Ali said that both sides have agreed to discuss and talk to each other to overcome any mistrust centring the repatriation issue while the meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere. He said Bangladesh conveyed its appreciation to the Myanmar delegation for visiting Kutupalong Rohingya camp in Ukhiya. The UN counted some 700,000 Rohingyas to have taken refuge in Bangladesh since Myanmar army launched a crackdown on the ethnic minority community on August 25 last year. The UN described the atrocities as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing while the rights groups called it genocide.