UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today stressed the importance of returns of Rohingya refugees meeting international standard and willing to be part of these discussions.
“To ensure that the refugees are heard and their protection guaranteed in Bangladesh and on return in Myanmar, we are willing to be part of these discussions,” said UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic at a press briefing in Geneva today.
His comments came following finalization of physical arrangement at the Bangladesh-Myanmar Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting held yesterday in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw.
“UNHCR understands that in yesterday’s discussions, Bangladesh and Myanmar focused on the modalities for the return of refugees to Myanmar…in any refugee situation, UNHCR hopes that refugees will be able to return home when they themselves choose to,” he said.
The spokesperson added that some Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh want to see positive developments in relation to their legal status and citizenship, the security situation in Rakhine State, and their ability to enjoy basic rights back home.
He said that major challenges have to be overcome in smooth repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland.
In this context, he said that UNHCR observed that Myanmar has endorsed the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission (RAC) led by Kofi Annan and reiterated its commitment in the bilateral arrangement with Bangladesh.
He said a comprehensive implementation of the Rakhine Advisory Commission recommendations is essential to ensure sustainable return. “We look to Myanmar to urgently implement these recommendations”.
He underscored the need for UNHCR and its partners urgent, unhindered access in Rakhine State to assess the situation and provide support to those in need who are still in Rakhine and to help with rebuilding efforts.