Bangladesh emphasised the need for accelerating efforts by the Myanmar government for creating conducive environment in the northern Rakhine State and rebuilding houses and villages for the returnees to facilitate early repatriation.
A Bangladesh delegation, led by foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, on Saturday saw trails of wide-spread devastation suffered by the people of the northern Rakhine State, foreign ministry said, without elaboration, in a press release issued after visit of the delegation to Rakhine on the day.
Bangladesh also requested Myanmar to take steps to address unwillingness of prospective returnees to accept the National Verification Card.
In Rakhine, they visited village Pan Taw Pyin from where most of the 15,000 inhabitants fled to Bangladesh. They also visited village Kain gGyi inhabited by ethnic Rakhine and Mro people and saw marks of devastation.
Ali along with several Bangladeshi members of the joint working group was taken, on the third day of their visit to Myanmar, to northern Rakhine State. They were taken to the border on the Myanmar side where few thousand displaced Myanmar nationals have been staying at the zero line.
The delegation visited reception centres at Taung Pyo Let Yar and Nga Khu Ya, a transit camp at Hla Poe Kaung having the capacity thirty thousand capacity, to demonstrate Myanmar’s preparation to receive the returnees.
They also visited Shwe Zar village where around 148 pre-fabricated houses for returnees are being built with assistance from the Indian government.
Ali was informed that remaining Muslims and people of Buddhist and Hindu faith were currently living in village Pan Taw Pyin. The Myanmar government has built 22 houses for internally displaced people and around 50 more houses for the returnees in the village.
Ali was on a four-day visit to discuss issues related to the repatriation of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals who took shelter in Bangladesh and to learn about Myanmar’s preparation for repatriation of Rohingyas.
Foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque and Bangladesh members of the joint work group of the two countries were also in the delegation.
They had separate meetings with Kyaw Tint Swe, Myanmar union minister of the Office of the State Counsellor and vice-president Myint Swe.
Myanmar ministers, including Kyaw Tint Swe, showed keen interest on starting repatriation at the earliest highlighting setting up of two reception centres, one transit camp, and engagement with UNHCR and UNDP and other initiatives as proof of her readiness to receive the returnees.
The Myanmar side also informed that houses for the returnees were being built at selected locations and more will be built. They further informed that 42 sites had so far been identified for resettlement of displaced people from Rakhine State sheltered in Bangladesh.
Myanmar agreed to send teams to the camps in Cox’s Bazar to explain advantages of holding NVC.
Both sides agreed on the need for early settlement of the displaced people currently staying at the boundary line (Zero line) between border pillars 34 and 35 to their original villages.
Myanmar particularly requested Bangladesh to stop providing humanitarian assistance to those people by ICRC, UNDP, INGOs from Bangladesh side and proposed to arrange supply of humanitarian assistance from Myanmar side.
Both sides also agreed to enhance cooperation on counter-terrorism and fight against narcotic drug trafficking.
Bangladesh delegation would leave Myanmar Sunday.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Foreign affairs