A technical working group on implementing an agreement between Myanmar and two United Nations (UN) agencies is visiting northern Rakhine State to survey the rehabilitation and development work needed to ensure the sustainable resettlement of refugees, reports the Myanmar Times, an English-language newspaper.
The group visited the Buthidaung township, one of the areas of turmoil in the troubled region, according to the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD).
UEHRD's vice-chair, U Win Myat Aye said the visit was the beginning of the repatriation process that would help all communities and identify needs and possible quick-impact projects.
We have made progress. We need to work together with the UN team, he said.
According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the group will also tour the Rathedaung and Maungdaw townships during the three-day visit.
The ministry said under the proposed work plan, both sides would implement the agreement on three-month and six-month programmes.
''The work plan includes initiatives to promote socio-economic development, healthcare and education aimed at enhancing harmony and co-existence among the communities in northern Rakhine, it said in a statement.
A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Myanmar said it had constructive discussions with the Myanmar Government on its memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed by Myanmar and two UN agencies on the voluntary return of refugees to make rapid and tangible progress and agree on operational procedures to implement several memoranda from Bangladesh.
The MoU defines the roles of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UNHCR in the return and resettlement of refugees and the design and implementation of community-based intervention to support access to livelihoods.
The violence in northern Rakhine erupted in August last year when fighters of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked government security outposts, triggering a military counter-insurgency campaign that displaced more than 700,000, mostly Muslim residents.
The international community accused the military of systematic human rights abuses against Muslims in northern Rakhine, but the government denied the accusations.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK