United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson met Myanmar’s State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday and the two discussed matters pertaining to the latest developments in Rakhine State, including the Rohingya repatriation process.
Myanmar’s state-owned Global New Light of Myanmar reported that Mr Johnson and his entourage, accompanied by Dr Win Myat Aye, the Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, travelled to Rakhine’s capital city of Sittway in a special plane in the afternoon.
The Foreign Secretary and his entourage then travelled to Pantaw Pyin Village Tract in Northern Rakhine. He spoke with the villagers there and asked them about the incidents of arson and the help they had received from the Union government.
Later, they inspected the construction of houses for the villagers, which were being built with the help of the Yangon Regional government. They then travelled to Taung Pyo Letwe Township and inspected and toured the temporary offices built there for the repatriation of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh.
Mr Johnson was briefed by officials on the repatriation process. The repatriation was scheduled to start on 23 January 2018 after Myanmar and Bangladesh reached an agreement on 23 November last year for repatriation of about 700,000 Rohingyas who have taken shelter in Bangladesh following counter-terrorism measures in the wake of coordinated attacks on 30 police stations and military base by the Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army (ARSA) on 25 August in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
Arrangements have been made at Taung Pyo Letwe Camp to accept returnees from Bangladesh returning by land and at Nga Ku Ya’s repatriation camp for those returning by sea. Returnees would be accommodated at a temporary shelter in Hla Pho Kaung Camp, a transit camp.
The Global New Light of Myanmar reported that the Foreign Secretary express supported the efforts being made by the Union Government in the repatriation process and for Rakhine State’s development. He said Britain was interested in further discussions to support education and healthcare for women and children, as part of Britain’s Department for International Development plans.
On 22 January, a day before the process of repatriation was to start, Bangladesh delayed it. Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner Abul Kalam stated that the repatriation was delayed because the process of compiling and verifying the list of people to be sent back could not be completed.