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Myanmar and Bangladesh sign deal for return of Rohingyas

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YANGON — Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the return of Rohingya refugees who fled across the border in the face of a Myanmar military crackdown in Rakhine state.

The deal was signed by Myanmar State Counsellor and Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor of Myanmar U Kyaw Tint Swe and Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali in the Myanmar capital of Naypyidaw on Thursday.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi met with Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister to hammer out a deal as global pressure mounts over the refugee crisis. Over 620,000 Rohingyas have poured into Bangladesh since August, running from a Myanmar military crackdown.

The talks between Suu Kyi and her Bangladeshi counterpart come ahead of a highly-anticipated visit to both nations from Pope Francis, who has been outspoken about his sympathy for the plight of the Rohingya.

Mainly Buddhist Myanmar, which denies committing atrocities against the Muslim minority, has agreed to work with Bangladesh to repatriate some of the Rohingya piling into desperately overstretched refugee camps.

The stateless Rohingya have been the target of communal violence and vicious anti-Muslim sentiment in mainly Buddhist Myanmar for years.

They have also been systematically oppressed by the government, which stripped the minority of citizenship and severely restricts their movement, as well as their access to basic services.

The latest crisis erupted after Rohingya rebels attacked police posts on August 25.

With Agency Inputs

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Demand for legalizing same-sex marriage

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KATHMANDU- Stakeholders concerned have demanded a law related to same-sex marriage in the context when the Nepal’s constitution and laws have accepted the concept of marital equality.

At an interaction program held with media about the issue of gender identity and sexual orientation by an organization named Yubalaya here Sunday, the demand came as a prompt need of the time by the people concerned.

The complaint of homosexuals was that they were deprived of marriage by choice in the absence of the legalization of same-sex marriage which according to them is the deprivation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

Blue Diamond Society Program Officer Anuj Peter said though the constitution has promised to make special provisions for protection, empowerment or development of gender and sexual minorities, such vows are yet to be executed in practice.

Peter, who identifies himself as a homosexual, shares that he has been legally denied to marry a man of his choice.

Yubalaya Chair Sabin Singh highlighted the need of support from media and civil society to address the issue of gender identity and sexual minorities regarding same-sex marriage law.

The participants of the program put their queries about marital equality, broader sexual education and safe abortion.

As told by the Society, to date, 30 countries across the world have legalized same-sex marriage and endorsed a law towards that end and the Netherlands was the first country to legalize it in the end of 2000.

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