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Monday, June 1, 2015, Jaishtha 18, 1422 BS, Shaban 13, 1436 Hijr

Repatriation of boat people uncertain
Saleem Samad
Published : Monday, 1 June, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 290
Delay in verification of national identities of 200 alleged Bangladeshis rescued by Myanmar navy from the Bay of Bengal two weeks ago has made their return home all the more uncertain, after they went adrift in the seas trying to reach Malaysia braving a deadly voyage.
A team of Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) was expected to visit Myanmar last week to check their identities but it suddenly called off the trip, saying a list of the rescued people handed by Yangon was incomplete.
A complete and comprehensive list is still unavailable. Nor a fresh date for the BGB's visit has been set.
Meanwhile, a meeting of three southeast Asian countries - Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, along with representatives of Bangladesh, Myanmar,UN agencies and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) held in Bangkok ended with no conclusive decision, expect for a general agreement about the need of immediate rescue of the floating boatpeople.
Nevertheless, Myanmar reportedly agreed to work with Bangladesh to sort out the problem of the floating and on-shore Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar desperately trying the flee their countries for a living abroad, despite high risks to their lives.
Myanmar's navy also seized a boat on Friday packed with 727 people off the country's southern coast, the government said, about a week after it found a similar boat it said carried around 200 Bangladeshi migrants.
The Bangladesh authority assured that the boatpeople would be repatriate after they were verified as Bangladesh nationals, until then they will have to remain in the makeshift refugee camps, said a senior Bangladeshi diplomat.
The state run Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) stated that the boatpeople were from the Cox's Bazar, Chittagong and northern Dhaka. The migrants were en route to Thailand and Malaysia, but now they wanted to return home.
The Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs director-general, Htin Lynn, told the MRTV: "Both countries are discussing the issue. We will deport them to their country. Undoubtedly, there are human traffickers behind the scenes. We will cooperate with the region and other organisations to control these issues."

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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