Naypidaw, Myanmar (BBN) – Bangladesh has signed a deal with Myanmar to return hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled a recent army crackdown.
No details have been released of the deal, which was signed by officials in the Myanmar capital, Naypidaw, reports BBC.
Bangladesh said it was a “first step”. Myanmar said it was ready to receive Rohingyas “as soon as possible”.
Aid agencies have raised concerns about the forcible return of the Rohingyas unless their safety can be guaranteed.
The Rohingya are a stateless minority who have long experienced persecution in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
More than 600,000 have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine state late in August.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Myanmar’s military action against the minority Rohingya population constituted ethnic cleansing.
Last week the army in Myanmar (also called Burma) exonerated itself of blame regarding the Rohingya crisis.
It denied killing any Rohingya people, burning their villages, raping women and girls, and stealing possessions.
The assertions contradict evidence seen by BBC correspondents of a crisis the United Nations has also called ethnic cleansing.