DHAKA – Myanmar and Rohingya have agreed to continue negotiations for the return of around 725,000 refugees who fled to neighboring Bangladesh.
A delegation from Myanmar’s government and members of the minority Muslim community met in Bangladesh on Sunday.
The 14-member contingent led by Myanmar’s Foreign Secretary Myint Thu met 35 Rohingya leaders in the Kutupalang refugee camp, in the east, where they discussed possible repatriation.
Dil Mohammad, one of Rohingya leaders, told EFE that they had asked for “three things, our citizenship, security and more dialogue” but Myanmar had “only agreed to have more dialogue.”
He added that they were also asked to participate in discussions with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“We present the documents proving our citizenship. The ASEAN delegation promised that they will discuss it at the next ministerial meeting,” Mohammad said.
Thu said that the government has agreed to continue discussions.
“Yesterday and today we held meetings in various fields and tried to explain the preparations for their return,” he told reporters.
He said he has promised that he will grant the Rohingya electronic identity documents, but did not specify dates or conditions.
“We will grant them electronic identity documents and there will no longer be a race or citizenship problem.
“Only the name and numbers will appear as in the US social security documents,” Thu continued.
Nearly 738,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived at camps in Bangladesh since 25 August, 2017, following a wave of persecution and violence in Myanmar that the United Nations described as an attempt at ethnic cleansing.
In August 2017, the Myanmar military launched a campaign against Rohingyas after insurgents of the rebel group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked multiple security posts.
The refugees have been living in poor conditions in the world’s biggest refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district.
Another 125,000 Rohingyas live in the western Rakhine state in conditions of segregation as internally displaced persons, after episodes of sectarian violence that started in 2012.
Myanmar classifies Rohingyas as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, denying them citizenship and imposing a number of restrictions, including limits on their freedom of movement.