After a meeting between delegations of the two countries in Dhaka on Friday, Kamal said Bangladesh has listed around 1.1 million Myanmar nationals who have crossed the border.
He said the people on the list handed to Swe were from 1,673 families.
According to the home minister, Myanmar officials told them in the meeting they would check the identities of the Rohingyas before repatriation.
He also said Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Ali Hossain would visit Myanmar on Tuesday to discuss the return of over 6,000 Myanmar nationals who are staying in the no man’s land at the border.
No Myanmar official commented on what they discussed in the meeting.
Around 700,000 refugees crossed the border after the Myanmar Army launched an ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas on Aug 25 last year following insurgent attacks on security forces in Rakhine State.
The two countries formed a joint panel to repatriate the recently arrived Rohingyas following an agreement signed last year.
The panel agreed the ‘arrangement on return of the displaced people’ from Rakhine on Jan 16.
The repatriation was also scheduled to start in January, but Bangladesh delayed it, citing safety concerns for the refugees.
Three stages of rehabilitation
Kamal said 1.06 million Myanmar nationals have been registered in Bangladesh.
“We’ve discussed how they (Myanmar) will take these people back. They (Myanmar officials) sounded very sincere. They said they will take the refugees back gradually,” he said.
Referring to comments by his Myanmar counterpart Swe, Kamal said the place where the Rohingyas lived is a region of many potentials and the government planned to develop a village to keep the returnees there.
“Their first job will be to identify the Rohingyas for rehabilitation. They will build houses for the Rohingyas and finally they will work to ensure permanent residency of this population,” the home minister said.
He said they discussed the five-point proposals floated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the UN General Assembly and 10 points of the recommendations made by the Kofi Annan Commission to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
“These people will not get a social environment suitable for permanent stay if we send them back (now). Myanmar has admitted it and said it will work to rehabilitate them properly,” Kamal said.
Giving citizenship to the Rohingya Muslims and taking them back from Bangladesh after ‘joint verification’ are some of the key features of the Annan commission recommendations.
The home minister said no exact date to start the repatriation process was discussed in the meeting.
The Myanmar delegation assured Bangladesh of taking back the Rohingyas from the no man’s land ‘shortly’, he said.
In his words, the process to repatriate the Rohingyas on the list handed to Myanmar will also start ‘soon’.
“They will check our list first and then decide about how soon to start the process of taking them back.
“The joint panel will sit frequently. Both the sides have agreed on the repatriation.”
“They said they will take steps to stop this,” he said.
Myanmar ‘gaining’ Bangladesh’s trust
Terming the discussion ‘very fruitful’, Kamal said he wanted to keep faith in Myanmar’s words.
“They were in a very positive mood. They agreed to take back the Rohingyas in phases. They are preparing for it,” he said.
“We want to believe in their words and they are gaining our trust. Maybe they will take the Rohingyas back,” he added.
Call to halt yaba
The home minister said they asked the Myanmar delegation to stop the smuggling of yaba.
He said Bangladesh has spotted 49 factories in Myanmar where the drug is produced and asked to shut those down.
The Myanmar delegation said they would try to close the factories, the minister said.
The Myanmar delegation included Home Secretary U Tin Myint, Foreign Secretary Myint Thu, police chief Aung Win Oo, and Ambassador U Lwin Oo.