Myanmar junta ‘ready to start resettlement’ process in Rakhine: junta media

19 September 2023
Myanmar junta ‘ready to start resettlement’ process in Rakhine: junta media
Image: Union Minister for Border Affairs Lt-Gen Tun Tun Naung / Photo: Junta media

The Myanmar junta says it is ready to start the resettlement process for people displaced from Rakhine State.

In a meeting held last week in Naypyidaw, reported on 15 September by the junta media, the Union Minister for Border Affairs Lt-Gen Tun Tun Naung said that the chairman of the work coordination committee led international diplomats including those from the Chinese Embassy on visits to Rakhine State two times to observe preparations for the pilot project of repatriation of displaced persons under the bilateral agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

While the report does not use the word Rohingya it is assumed the meeting was referring to Rohingya and Hindu refugees currently living in camps in Bangladesh, following the Myanmar military crackdown in 2017 that drove an exodus of over 700,000 people.

Union Minister Lt-Gen Tun Tun Naung, who is also in the capacity of Chairman of the Rakhine State Stability, Peace and Development Work Coordination Committee, delivered a speech last week at the meeting of the committee at the Ministry of Border Affairs in Naypyidaw.

Myanmar is ready to start reception and resettlement of displaced persons at any time, he said, adding that development undertakings in the state have achieved success to some extent.

Vice-Chair 1 Union Minister at the Union Government Office 2 Ko Ko Hlaing and Vice-Chair 2 Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Soe Win discussed the progress of Rakhine State in all aspects, verifying reception of displaced persons, explaining progress in resettlement measures to the diplomats, humanitarian aid for displaced persons, functions of reception centres and preparations to accept displaced persons, according to the junta media report.

The meeting also focused on the verification of population, international cooperation, preparations to accept those persons, socioeconomic development and security measures.

Myanmar analysts note that the repatriation process has been troubled, given plans to place Rohingya returnees in new settlements have been met with opposition, given calls by the refugees to return to their original places of residence and that the plan does not envisage the granting of Myanmar citizenship.