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Bangladesh and United Nations agree on voluntary return for Rohingya refugees

16 April 2018

13 April 2018The United Nations refugee agency and the Government of Bangladesh on Friday signed a cooperation agreement on the safe, dignified return of Rohingya refugees to their homes in Myanmar, "once conditions there are conducive".

The MoU established a framework of cooperation between UNHCR and Bangladesh on the safe, voluntary, and dignified returns of refugees in line with global standards, said the statement.

The offensive, which reportedly included loot, rapes and razing down of Rohingya villages, led the exodus of some 690,000 members of the predominantly Muslim ethnic group to neighbouring Bangladesh, where they are still living in overcrowded refugee camps.

He added that, "Following the issuance of the Royal Directives to allocate $20 million in response to the most recent Rohingya crisis, KSRelief has initiated a number of key projects and has worked closely in coordination with UNHCR and the government of Bangladesh to attend to the most urgent humanitarian needs of the Rohingya refugees".

In the absence of a tripartite agreement between UNHCR, Myanmar and Bangladesh, UNHCR has continued to engage with both governments in negotiations on two separate Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), meant to ensure that any future returns are conducted in line with the worldwide standards of voluntariness, safety and dignity.

Around 6,500 others have taken shelter in the no man's land on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

The responsibility for creating such conditions remains with the Myanmar authorities, and these must go beyond the preparation of physical infrastructure to facilitate logistical arrangements.

"It will help improve the situation in Myanmar, in terms of helping the Government implement the Annan.the conclusions of the (Kofi) Annan panel", he said referring to the panel, headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that has outlined long-term solutions to help end the violence and marginalisation for all communities in Rakhine.

The agreement was signed during the visit of a delegation from KSRelief to the Rohingya camps Cox's Bazar, according to a UNHCR press release.

Bangladesh and United Nations agree on voluntary return for Rohingya refugees