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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Bangladesh hands list of Rohingya returnees to Myanmar

The UN has said that conditions are not yet right for Rohingya to return voluntarily after army-led violence drove thousands out of Myanmar

Bangladesh's Asaduzzaman Khan (L) handed over a list of more than 8,000 Rohingya to Myanmar home minister Gen Swe on Friday / AFP PHOTO / -
Bangladesh's Asaduzzaman Khan (L) handed over a list of more than 8,000 Rohingya to Myanmar home minister Gen Swe on Friday / AFP PHOTO / -

A Bangladesh Cabinet minister gave a list of 8,032 Rohingya refugees to his Myanmar counterpart to begin repatriations of the Muslim minority under a November agreement between the two countries.

Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Friday the list contained the members of 1,673 Rohingya families. He did not explain how the names had been chosen.

About 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled army-led violence in Buddhist-majority Myanmar since last August and are living in refugee camps in Bangladesh. The two countries originally agreed to begin the repatriations last month, but they were delayed by concerns among aid workers and Rohingya that they would be forced to return and face unsafe conditions in Myanmar.

Hundreds of Rohingya were reportedly killed in the violence, and many houses and villages burned to the ground.

UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi told the Security Council on Tuesday that conditions aren't right for Rohingya to voluntarily return because Myanmar hasn't addressed their exclusion and denial of rights.

Grandi also said Rohingya are still fleeing Myanmar and thousands more are expected to leave.

Khan said he presented the list to Myanmar Home Minister Lt. Gen. Kyaw Swe, who is visiting Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, to discuss the repatriations and other border issues.

"The Myanmar side cordially accepted the list, and they sought our help to make it happen," Khan told reporters. Kyaw Swe did not speak to the reporters.

Khan said officials in Myanmar would choose 6,500 people next Tuesday to be sent back in an initial phase. He would not say exactly when the repatriation would start.