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508 Hindus among 1k refugees cleared for 1st batch of repatriation: Myanmar

The repatriation process has not yet started, although it was to have begun on January 23 under an agreement with Bangladesh

IANS  |  United Nations 

Rohingya Muslims, who spent four days in the open after crossing over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carry their children and belongings after they were allowed to proceed towards a refugee camp, at Palong Khali, Bangladesh. Photo: AP | PTI
Photo: AP | PTI

has said that 508 are among around 1,000 cleared for the first batch to be repatriated to their homes from

The list, which also includes 750 Muslims, has been handed over to authorities to "expedite" the process of repatriating now in the neighbouring country, Myanmar's Hau Do Suan told the on Tuesday during a briefing on the situation there on Tuesday.

The repatriation process has not yet started, although he said that it was to have begun on January 23 under an agreement with

has provided Bangladesh side the resettlement plan covering livelihood assistance, access to basic services, and safety arrangement for verified returnees, he added.

The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, however, told the Council that the situation in was not yet conducive for the return of

"An end to violence and destruction of property and granting humanitarian access throughout -- as called for by the Secretary-General (Antonio Guterres) -- were critical, basic steps," he said.

He acknowledged, though, that the flow of refugees to Bangladesh was significantly reduced.

Bangladesh's disputed that assertion saying that the flight of Rohingya fleeing to his country continued unabated and that 1,500 had come over in the first ten days of February.

The Council session was marked by sharp divisions with mainly the veto-armed and taking a more conciliatory approach to Myanmar and the Western countries and Kuwait following a hardline accusing it of ethnic cleansing, precluding any action.

US Nikki Haley, who insisted on referring to Myanmar as Burma, said, "The has so far failed in its responsibility to act in response to the clear threat to peace and security that has resulted from recent events in northern "

She said the Council must hold the military accountable for its actions and pressure State Counsellor to acknowledge the "horrific acts" taking place there.

She called on Guterres to appoint a special envoy for Myanmar.

There hasn't been a point person on Myanmar since former Indian diplomat Vijay Nambia left the position of special adviser for that country when completed his term in 2017 as Secretary-General.

Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi of Kuwait also accused the of carrying out an ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas and said that refugees could not voluntarily return home unless confidence-buiding measures were undertaken.

Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy, however, said that the overall situation was under control because of the efforts of the Myanmar authorities.

He said relying on subjective and contradictory versions of events was not conducive to bringing peace to Myanmar.

China's Permanent Representative Ma Zhaoxu said the objectives of ending hostilities, restoring order and finding solutions through dialogue had largely been achieved.

He said community should acknowledge the difficulties in repatriating the refugees because of the complex situation in and be patient while extending support to the process.

The current crisis that sent about 700,000 refugees - most of them Rohingya Muslims - across the border to Bangladesh followed attacks on Myanmar security posts in August 2017 by the Arakan Rohingya (ARSA), which is led by Karachi-born Ata Ullah leading to counterattacks by the armed forces and vigilantes.

Permanent Representatives Bernard Tanoh-Boutchoue of Cote d'Ivoire and Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea condemned the action of ARSA, even as they also condemned the for the attacks on the Rohigya.

Tanoh-Boutchoue said that he was concerned that the Islamic State and the Al Qaeda could exploit the situation.

Suan said that although there have been no major clashes during the last six months, "there is always a threat of ARSA terrorists who are taking refuge among innocent peoples" returning.

First Published: Wed, February 14 2018. 11:21 IST