Myanmar Minister Meets Muslim Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh as Confidence-Building Measure

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The agreement focused on the "safe, voluntary, and dignified returns" of Rohingyas, which will only take place "once conditions in Myanmar were conducive", according to a UNHCR statement cited by Efe news.

The UNHCR thanked Bangladesh for its hospitality, protection and assistance to those refugees.

Since August 2017, almost 700,000 minority Muslim Rohingyas have fled violence in Myanmar across the border into Bangaldeshs Coxs Bazar, joining several hundred thousand more that were already settled there in overcrowded camps.

The Security Council will send a mission to Iraq, Bangladesh, and Myanmar from April 26 to May 2, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hoping the trip will refocus the attention of the worldwide community on the plight of the Rohingya refugees, his spokesperson has said.

A Myanmar minister told Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh on Wednesday that their repatriation was a priority, in the first visit by a top Myanmar official since last year's exodus.

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On November 23, Dhaka and Naypyidaw signed an agreement to begin repatriating the refugees in January this year, but the process has stalled over technical and ground-level problems.

The MoU, signed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Bangladesh foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque in Geneva, established a framework of cooperation between UNHCR and Bangladesh on the safe, voluntary, and dignified returns of refugees in line with global standards.

Win Myat Aye, Myanmar's social welfare minister, provoked anger when he reportedly told a group of about 40 Rohingya that if they were to return to Myanmar, they would have to accept national verification cards and state they were migrants from Bangladesh.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said all 15 council ambassadors will make the April 26 to May 2 trip.almost 700,000 Rohingya have been driven out of Rakhine state and are living in crowded refugee camps in Bangladesh since a Myanmar army operation in August.

"Another practical measure would be to ease restrictions on movement for the internally displaced persons encamped in the central townships of Rakhine state, which would also help to build confidence among refugees in Bangladesh", it added.