Bangladesh to identify Rohingya refugees as 'forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens'

Bangladesh will identify the Rohingyas, who have fled violence in their homeland, as forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens.

Published : 5 Oct 2017, 11:58 AM
Updated : 5 Oct 2017, 12:15 PM

The government's statement came on Thursday as hundreds of thousands of the Muslim-majority community poured into Bangladesh in a little over five weeks.

More than half a million Rohingyas have fled across the border to Bangladesh after a counter-insurgency offensive by Myanmar's army in the wake of militant attacks on security forces.

The UN has described Myanmar's strategy as "ethnic cleansing".

Bangladesh was already home to 400,000 Rohingya refugees before insurgents attacked 30 police outposts and an army base in the western Rakhine state on Aug 25.

"The foreign ministry has said the Rohingyas in Bangladesh have to be identified as 'forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens'," Disaster Management and Relief Secretary Shah Kamal told the media in Dhaka.

Following a meeting between the government and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Sep 25, Bangladesh said they were yet to grant official refugee status to the Rohingyas.

Rohingya refugees show their biometric registration card. Photo: mostafigur rahman

Bangladesh has already started biometric screening of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh and over 60,000 of them have already been registered.

The government also said on Thursday that all Rohingyas will eventually be moved to the Kutupalong refugee camp as the other camps are slowly closed.

“It has been decided that all Rohingyas outside the Kutupalong camp will slowly be moved into it,” said Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury.

Efforts are underway to shift those Rohingyas who have taken refuge in the hilly areas of Bandarban into the camp. The relocation of the refugees will start on Oct 3.