Myanmar + 1 more

Myanmar: Bangladesh seeks UNHCR cooperation for complete repatriation of refugees

DHAKA, Jun 24, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --

Bangladeshi Foreign Advisor Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury Sunday hoped that the repatriation of refugees living in the country would be completed soon with the help of the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Bangladesh has been providing shelter to Myanmar refugees for nearly three decades and over 95 percent of them have already returned to their homeland voluntarily.

"We sincerely hope that the repatriation of the remaining refugees would be completed at the earliest with the UNHCR's cooperation," he said.

The foreign advisor expressed deep concern over the issue, as there have been no repatriation of the Ruhingya refugees since July 2005.

"Bangladesh never pursued forced repatriation of the refugees. However, we're concerned that no repatriation took place since July 2005," he said.

Dr. Iftekher said although Bangladesh is not a party to the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 and to its Optional Protocols, it has remained committed to the principle of international protection of refugees.

About the stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh, he said the Bangladeshi government has sympathy for them and it is working to find out a solution to the problem.