DEPUTY MINISTER for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung, Japanese Ambassador to Myanmar Mr. Ichiro Maruyama, and Japanese journalists, visited Maungtaw yesterday morning and met with displaced persons who returned to Myanmar in 2018 and 2019, on their own volition, under the UEHRD plan.
During the meeting, U Soe Aung reiterated that Myanmar was carrying out repatriation as per the Myanmar-Bangladesh agreement. Following an intimation from Bangladesh, Myanmar officials had been in a state of readiness to welcome returnees on 22 August, he said. But, no one had returned on that day, he added.
At the meeting, Japanese Ambassador Mr Ichiro Maruyama inquired about the difficulties and requirements of the displaced people, and the situation of those in the neighbouring country. The Japanese government plans to provide humanitarian aid to the people, he added.
In response to a question, the returnees expressed their gratitude for the reception and said the camps in the neighbouring country lack security.
They also said that their relatives in the neighbouring country were willing to come back, but they had been threatened against returning by terrorist group ARSA. Their repatriation was, in fact, an escape from ARSA, they added.
The returnees reported difficulties in earning a livelihood as they were facing a lack of job opportunities.
They requested the authorities to relocate them to areas closer to their former places of residence, and to provide assistance in education for children, healthcare, and food.
In the afternoon, the Deputy Minister, the Ambassador, and the journalists visited the Taung Pyo Letwe Reception Centre. They took stock of the preparedness for the reception, repatriation gates, scanning for admission, security, healthcare, and humanitarian assistance. They also spoke words of encouragement to officials.
Then, they headed to the Hla Pho Khaung Transit Center. There, they inspected modular houses, assembly board houses, drinking water, toilets, and clinics for the displaced people.
In the evening, the delegation flew back to Sittway.
The Rakhine State Minister of Security Border Affairs and Col Min Than, concerned officials, and officials from the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar also took part in the trip.
The officials also answered questions raised by the media.
(Translated by Alphonsus)
Ref: The Global New Light of Myanmar