UNHCR and UNDP Teams in N. Rakhine to Assess Repatriation Process

By The Irrawaddy 12 September 2018

YANGON — The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) teams are on the ground in northern Rakhine State and commenced their first round of assessments on Wednesday, according to the UNHCR.

It has been three months since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UNHCR, the UNDP, and the Myanmar government to facilitate the voluntary, safe, and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya who fled Myanmar last year, and to facilitate the creation of improved and resilient livelihoods for all communities living in Rakhine State. The Rohingya fled the country in the wake of clearance operations by Myanmar security forces that came in response to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s (ARSA’s) serial attacks on security outposts in northern Rakhine State in August 2017.

The agency’s reporting officer Aoife McDonnell told The Irrawaddy that the assessment process will take some two weeks, and will reach 23 villages as well as three additional village tracts in the townships of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung as approved by the government.

“The assessments begin based on the expectation that this very initial and small step, in terms of access, will be expanded rapidly to all areas covered by the MoU,” she said.

The UNHCR said that by commencing with a needs assessment to identify and implement quick-impact projects, the UNHCR and the UNDP hope to jump-start confidence building measures aimed at rebuilding trust and social cohesion with those communities that remain in Rakhine State.