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Bangladesh Speeds-up Repatriation of Burmese Refugees - 2003-05-22


Officials in Bangladesh say they have sped-up the repatriation of thousands of Burmese Muslims who fled persecution by Burma's military government more than 10 years ago.

About 150 Burmese left two refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh Wednesday.

Officials say about 22,000 others are still in the camps.

Under an agreement between Bangladesh and Burma, they will be sent back across the border in groups twice a week over the next few months.

More than 250,000 Burmese Muslims, known as Rohingya, fled to Bangladesh in 1991 and 1992. Most have since returned home under United Nations supervision.

Many other Burmese crossed into Bangladesh after 1992, but authorities there refused to recognize them as refugees.

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