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03 October 2017, 09:04 | Damon Campbell
A Myanmar minister Monday proposed taking back hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh after a military crackdown, Dhaka's top diplomat said, as the United Nations described the scale of suffering inside Rakhine state as "unimaginable".
Warning about the risk of destabilization in the region, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appealed to Myanmar's authorities to put an end to violence perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims.
Under global pressure, Aung San Suu Kyi, in her speech last month, had spoken of taking back the Rohingyas, but said Myanmar would conduct a process of verification.
The Bangladesh minister gave no time frame for repatriation.
In 2008 and 2012, two groups of Rohingya refugees had been rescued from the seas and accorded UNHCR facilities before being repatriated. The government, however, blames the Rohingya for the violence, claiming the Muslims set fire to their own homes.
Human rights activists and the Rohingya community have accused the Myanmar Army of trying to force them out of the country with a campaign of arson and targeted killings. Many of them were tortured, raped and killed by the army and their Buddhist cohorts. Over the last 69 years, wave after wave of brutal ethnic cleansing left them homeless. "The violence must stop", it said, calling for unimpeded humanitarian and media access. The UN and other aid agencies have been trying to collect humanitarian aids for the displaced people to provide them with food, shelter and healthcare.
Diplomats and United Nations officials meet with villagers of Muslim village Ah Nauk Pyin in Rathedaung Township on Monday.
Security officials say they are seeking to prevent possible infiltration of radical Islamic terrorists from the Rohingya makeshift camps along the border.
Under that agreement almost a quarter of a million people were repatriated from Bangladesh to Myanmar between the early 1990s and 2005, he said. "And we have handed over a copy of the bilateral agreement (to the Myanmar minister)", said Ali.
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"Talks were held in a peaceful manner", Minister Ali said after the meeting at state guest house Padma.
Asked when the process might start, Ali said: "One meeting can not solve all the issues".
A working group is being composed to begin drawing up the plans.
Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called Myanmar to take the persecuted Rohingya back to their homes ensuring their safety and dignity.
Monura, who like many Rohingya uses one name, said she had little to feed her desperately hungry child on the five-day trek from Myanmar.
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