The government is concerned about the rapid growth of the Rohingya population in the Cox’s Bazar camps with an average of 35,000 new births registered each year in the families of forcibly displaced Burmese nationals and refugees in Bangladesh.
The issue was discussed at a meeting of the “National Coordination, Management and Policing Committee for Forcibly Displaced Citizens of Myanmar”, as the growing Rohingya population created pressure on the Bangladesh.
“Around 11,000 forcibly displaced Burmese citizens, known as Rohingya, have found refuge in our country. The Rohingya population is increasing at an alarming rate. .5 lakh children have been born in camps in the last five years,’ Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told a press briefing after chairing the fourth meeting of the national committee in the hall of ministry conference at the secretariat.
He said the Islamic Foundation and the Ministry of Health would be engaged in motivating Rohingyas living in the camps in Cox’s Bazar and Noakhali’s Bhasan Char Island to use birth control tools.
The Home Minister said that the Bangladesh Army would be engaged if necessary in addition to law enforcement to reinforce campaigns and patrols in and around Ukhiya and Teknaf camps to contain drug trafficking and other crimes.
“The army will participate in operations if necessary to maintain order in the Rohingya camps. Some Rohingya engage in drug trafficking. They operate from the camps and store narcotics there,” Asaduzzaman said.
He said campaigns against illegal businesses in Rohingya camps would continue and no one would be allowed out without permission.
“The Bangladesh Army has been tasked with erecting barbed wire fences around the camps. They informed the meeting that 80% of the works have been completed,” he said, adding that observation towers have been built to keep the camps under round-the-clock surveillance by law enforcement.
He said members of the army, Bangladesh Border Guard and Rapid Action Battalion would also patrol outside the camps so that no one can get out of their camps.
Regarding the Rohingya who handle Bangladeshi passports, the Home Minister said that the database prepared by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will be used so that no Rohingya can get a Bangladeshi passport.
“Rohingyas, whose biometric scans have been taken, cannot obtain passports.
But some fled the camps earlier and we were watching them so they couldn’t get passports to leave the country,” he said.
Asked about the number of Rohingya who fled the camps, Asaduzzaman said they had no such data.
The meeting decided to request the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, to provide age-appropriate food rations, as infants and the elderly now receive equal amounts of food. food.
Minister of State for Disaster Management and Relief Md Enamur Rahman, Minister of State for Women and Children Fazilatun Nessa Indira and heads of relevant agencies among others attended the meeting.
Officials said the Rohingya population was increasingly creating pressure on Bangladesh’s economy and environment.
With the increase in the Rohingya population, food and healthcare costs were also rising, officials said, who added that the government was concerned because the predominantly Muslim community did not follow any method of birth control.
At least 8.60,000 Rohingya, mostly women, children and the elderly, have crossed into Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murders, arson and rape during “security operations” carried out by the army. Myanmar in Rakhine, which the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning August 25, 2017.
The latest influx of Rohingyas has brought the number of undocumented Burmese nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to more than 1.1 million, according to estimates by UN agencies and the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Not a single Rohingya has returned home to Rakhine State since the signing of the instruments between Bangladesh and Myanmar in late 2018.
Two attempts to initiate the repatriation of refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar failed as the Rohingya refused to return home without guarantees of their citizenship and safety.