The first group of forty-seven Bangladeshi boatpeople rescued by the Thai authorities arrived in Dhaka on Monday evening from Thailand as part of a fast-track repatriation process of the government.The fortune seekers were rescued last year from the Andaman Sea. They flew back home by a Bangladesh Biman flight at 7:30pm at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, BM Jamal Hossain, Director (Welfare & MRP) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed.
The Bangladesh nationals are being brought back home after the confirmation of their nationality through police verification.
The government has sponsored their repatriation including airfare, and related transportation costs, the Bangladesh embassy in Bangkok said, after initiating the fast-track repatriation of the stranded Bangladesh nationals.
Bangladesh Ambassador in Thailand Saida Muna Tasneem has been working in close cooperation with the Thai government authorities to ensure successive repatriation of few more batches of 197 people who were verified as Bangladeshi nationals by end-June.
The embassy said they would be able to repatriate a few more batches of 197 verified Bangladeshi nationals by this month.
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque at the regional boatpeople crisis meeting in Bangkok on May 29 said Bangladesh would take back its nationals within a month once their nationalities were verified.
The government earlier said their initial verification suggested less than 30 per cent of those staying in the refugee camps in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were victims from Bangladesh.
The Bangladeshi refugees were in Thai Suan Plu Immigration Detention Centre after they were rescued from the sea, Jamal Hossain said.