A camp of Rohingya refugees near the border with Bangladesh (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The United Nations (UN) and Myanmar on June 6 signed an agreement enabling the UN to approach and join hands in dealing with the crisis in Rakhine state and returning Rohingya refugees.

The UN Secretary-General’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Myanmar and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to create conditions conducive to voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable Rohingya refugee returns from Bangladesh.

Most of the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar, lack citizenship or even proof of residence after fleeing burning villages.

Under the MoU, the UNHCR will join hands with the Myanmar government in implementing voluntary repatriation and conducting assessments at their potential pilot project sites, and will work with the UNDP in preparation for recovery and resilience-based development in potential area.

The UNDP will also cooperate with the Myanmar government in undertaking the planning process for resilience-based recovery and development that will benefit all communities and promote social cohesion among the communities as well as support access to livelihoods.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the agreement, saying this is the first step to address the root causes of the conflict in Rakhine.

He also called for an end to violence, accountability for perpetrators, redress for victims, humanitarian access to all areas in Rakhine State, and the implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State headed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Around 700,000 Rohingya people fled to Bangladesh after the government’s troops launched crackdowns against rebels in August 2017. They have been in make-shift refugee camps in hilly southernmost Bangladesh and now endure flooding from monsoon rains.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed in November 2017 an agreement on the return of Rohingya refugees but only a small group had come back home due to security concerns.-VNA