06 November 2018
Taung Pyo Letwe Reception Centre is located 35.3 miles away by road from Maungtaw town and 38.6 miles away by water-way.It is surrounded by Bangladesh to the North.
From 3 or 4 miles away from Taung Pyo Letwe Reception Centre, there are several refugees’ camps on the Bangladesh side.
Construction began on 25 October 2017 and it started the repatriation process on 23 January 2018. Since then, the repatriation process has been running.
Generally, all returnees arriving at Taung Pyo Letwe, they are sent to Hla Poe Kaung Transit Camp. Through Hla Poe Kaung, they will be handed over to their relatives. U Thant Zin, Deputy Director of Immigration at Taung Pyo Letwe said, most of returnees live in Maungtaw town.
U Thant Zin remarked that repatriation process is ready since seven or eight months ago.
There are altogether 17 returnees at Taung Pyo Letwe since 14 April 2018. There are currently 189 returnees in total, including Nga Hku Ya Reception Center and Hla Poe Kaung transit camp, according to Maungdaw District General Administration Office.
Answering the question why so many people are not coming back yet, the spoke person said they have arranged for their returns in all preparation process but it is believed it is because of some pressure.
All returnees’ main demand is to get full citizenship. U Thant Zin said that we cannot provide citizenship to all, according to 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law. Their demand is not in line with the law, so they still cannot come back.
If they want to come back, they have to show the evidence that they have family registration list or the approval from Ministry of Home Affairs. If they have those kinds of forms, they will be allowed to repatriate.
“There are many refugees who don’t have identification forms, so what happens to them?” asked a journalist.
They can come and talks to reception center about their parents have lived in Myanmar. If they are holding one kind of identification form called National Verification Card (NVC), also known as green card, they will be screened and provided permission to stay.
All people who would like to come back ask for the citizenship. They ask for freedom of movement. Some ask for the compensation of properties. But their demands are not meeting up Myanmar Citizenship Law, which is one the reasons why they still don’t come back.
Another concern is because of ARSA existence in Bangladesh refugees’ camp. The information of it was received from one of the 17 returnees, who had worked as the general secretary of the refugees’ camp in Bangladesh. He said, ARSA are threatening refugees not to be able to come back.
“The only way they can come back is to apply for NVC. Another reason why they don’t apply for National Verification Card is that they have misunderstanding about NVC that their status of citizenship will go down, not realizing that NVC is the token, the step to achieving Citizenship.”
“Our government officials including Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr. Win Myat Aye and government delegations have visited Bangladesh side several times now and explained about NVC. I think the Bangladesh side needs to cooperate to let refugees know what NVC is about. Many of the Muslim women from the refugees are uneducated, so they don’t understand what NVC is. Only if their husbands explain, they are able to know what that is. They need to know more about NVC and if they can cooperate, the repatriation process will be better.”
According to the latest information received from Rakhine Authority Meeting held on 4 October in Maungtaw, where First Chief Minister of Rakhine State U Nyi Pu and other officials attended, the first batch of over 2,260 displaced people will be accepted at a rate of 150 numbers of people per day, from the beginning of 15 December.