Special Feature

Rohingyas to be gradually shifted to Hatiya

30 Jan,2017


Special Report:

The government has stepped up measures to effectively deal with Rohingya issue by gradually relocating both documented and undocumented Rohingya refugees, who entered the country illegally, to Noakhali’s Hatiya Island.

The government has started the initial process to shift Rohingya refuges to Thengar Char near Hatiya Island in Noakhali district, a government source told UNB.

He said a number of committees have already been formed to look into the matter in a very comprehensive manner.

Over 65,000 Myanmar nationals from its Rakhine State entered Bangladesh since October 9 last year. They are currently living in different camps -- Nayapara, Leda and Kutupalang in Teknaf and Ukhia -- apart from other parts of the country.

Hatiya is an island in the northern Bay of Bengal, at the mouth of the Meghna Rive and is nearly nine-hour journey from the camps where the Rohingya are now staying.

Considering the situation, the Cabinet Division at a meeting with its Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam in the chair on January 5 decided to form the ‘Committee for identifying illegal intruders from Myanmar’.

The Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong is heading one of the committees. The Police Commissioner, Chittagong Metropolitan Police, Regional Commander, BGB, Zonal Commander, Bangladesh Coast Guard, divisional office head of the DGFI, Deputy Commissioners from Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali and Bandarban are included in the committee.

There are also separate committees headed by the Deputy Commissioners of Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong and Bandarban Hill District. There will be upazila, municipality, ward and union-level committees under these three districts.

The committees, if necessary, can coopt any official, public representative, educational institution head and local prominent person as the committee member.

The core committee will provide required recommendation and supports related to identification of illegal Myanmar nationals to the district-level committees.

The district committees will help transfer all the documented and undocumented Myanmar nationals to Thengar Char near Hatiya Island in Noakhali gradually, according to a Cabinet Division document obtained by UNB.

The committees will also take proper steps to prevent the further entry of Myanmar nationals into Bangladesh illegally, identify the citizenship of the nationals through collecting information from locals and detectives and take preventive measures so that the Myanmar nationals cannot mix up with the mainland people in Bangladesh. 

The other districts will also have similar committees keeping consistence with the Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban district committees, according to the decisions noted in the document.

A three-member delegation of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State is currently visiting Bangladesh.

They visited two Rohingya camps in Ukhia and Teknaf upazilas of Cox’s Bazar on Sunday and listened to Myanmar nationals about the torture unleashed by the military of the Myanmar government on them.

They said the army persons had shot many Rohingyas to death after picking them up from their houses and torched their houses.

The delegation members are Win Mra, Chair of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission; Ghassan Salame', former UN Special Adviser to Secretary-General (2003-2006); and Aye Lwin, Core Member and Founder of Religious for Peace, Myanmar, according to Foreign Ministry officials.

They will meet Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Home Minister Asaduzzaman before they leave Dhaka on February 1.

More than 30,000 registered Rohingyas are living in two camps in Cox’s Bazar while about five lakh undocumented Rohingyas are living here.

Bangladesh is regularly expressing deep concern at the continued influx of Muslims from Rakhine into Bangladesh apart from tightening border deployment.

On December 29, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh Myo Myint Than demanded early repatriation of entire Myanmar population staying in Bangladesh and expressed Dhaka’s readiness to engage with Myanmar to discuss the process and modalities of repatriation with Myanmar.

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