(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Myanmar must guarantee "equal rights" for everyone in troubled Rakhine state as talks on repatriation of more than 620,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh gather steam, the new EU ambassador to the country said on Thursday.
Kristian Schmidt, who took over the European Union mission in Yangon some two months ago, also called on the administration of Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to "break down barriers" between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine.
He said the return of refugees should be voluntary and the involvement of the United Nations agencies in the repatriation process would be "extremely useful."
The initial deal struck by Bangladesh and Myanmar mentions the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, but does not specify its role.