A high-level delegation from Bangladesh has reached Myanmar to lead a Chinese-mediated meeting on Rohingya repatriation.
A list of over 3,000 Rohingya under a pilot programme has been sent to Myanmar to verify and a possible repatriation could begin under the mediation of China, according to Bangladeshi officials.
More than 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims forcibly displaced from Myanmar live in congested camps in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal.
Most of the refugees fled a brutal military crackdown in August 2017 in Rakhine, a state on the western coast of Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Earlier this year, two delegations from Myanmar visited Cox's Bazar, while another delegation comprising Bangladeshi officials and Rohingya representatives visited Rakhine state under the pilot program. However, talks on the issues stalled.
Confirming the latest meeting to Anadolu news agency on Monday, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, chief of Bangladesh's Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), said the country is “expecting to initiate repatriation of Rohingya to Myanmar anytime this year”.
Bangladesh, China and Myanmar want to start repatriation under the pilot programme by this December. The latest visit is part of the process.
The visiting delegation will try to learn in Naypyidaw what measures have been taken to restore the confidence of the Rohingya and make them feel safe.
The Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh, however, do not want to return to Myanmar, ruled by the military junta where their safety is at risk and where their right to citizenship is not guaranteed.