The return programme provides a framework within which the role of UNHCR and UNDP in the process is defined. For the first time since August last year, when violence erupted and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee, the agreement gives the two UN bodies effective access to Rakhine State. UN agencies will be able to visit areas of the region to determine if they meet the criteria for safe return and to set up return centres and protection programmes. Since last summer, more than 700,000 people have fled the Bangladeshi border following military action against the Arakan Rohingya insurgent. Last November, Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a bilateral agreement to facilitate return, but the agreement was strongly criticized by the international community for concerns about the safety of refugees and the lack of UN involvement. As of last February, only 8032 people had registered for the return process. Although some border surveillance activities have already been carried out, tripartite agreements have formalized cooperation and defined the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved. They have put in place a framework for asylum seekers to enter a country, be protected and not afraid of being sent back to the place where they have fled. The new aid programme is expected to facilitate last year`s bilateral return agreement, led and with the support of UN organizations. The tripartite agreement, signed on Wednesday (June 6th) in Nay Pyi Taw, outlines the conditions under which the voluntary return of the Rohingya can take place and where, if they wish, they can resume the journey from refugee camps in Bangladesh to their homeland in Rakhine State in western Myanmar. The Nigerian Minister of the Interior thanked Cameroon and its people for welcoming Nigerian refugees and for the continued solidarity with refugees who fled following the Boko Haram insurgency.
Cameroon`s Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization (MINATD) stressed that after the signing, the two countries also urgently needed to focus on reducing areas on both sides of the border affected by poverty and the lack of basic social services. The two ministers also welcomed UNHCR`s efforts to assist Nigerian refugees in Cameroon`s Far North region. UNHCR`s representative in Cameroon, Kouassi Lazare Etien, recalled that “there is still a long way to go, but the signing of the agreement reveals the real desire of Cameroon and Nigeria to protect refugees by facilitating the process for those who want to return to security and dignity, with the support of UNHCR.” France welcomes today`s agreement between the civilian government of Burma, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Raessa Touraire Ngou, Reporting Assistant: [email protected] – 237 693 01 73 80; The first tripartite agreement was concluded in Hungary in 2006. A similar agreement was signed in September 2007 in Slovakia, Romania in July 2008, Slovenia in October 2008, Poland in October 2008 and Bulgaria in April 2010. This tripartite agreement is an important step in preparing the conditions for a safe, voluntary, dignified and lasting return of Rohingya refugees. It is in line with the statement of the President of the Security Council dated 6 November 2017 and the security council press statement of 9 May.