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Bangladesh forms committees to identify Myanmar Rohingyas and prevent influx

A Rohingya refugee camp. Photo: Reuters

January 30, 2017

The government has formed four committees to identify the Rohingyas and stop further influx from Myanmar.

The Cabinet Division issued the order forming the committees in Chittagong division and Cox's Bazar, Chittagong and Bandarban districts recently.

The division took the decision to form committees also in all the districts, Upazilas, municipalities, wards and unions within a 'limited scope' in a meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam on Jan 5.

The government move comes amidst the recent influx of Rohingyas fleeing persecution in Myanmar. Bangladesh is already shelter to 500,000 Rohingya refugees.

The Cabinet Division said around 65,000 Rohingyas had entered Bangladesh since the recent violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state started in October last year. 

Many of these 'refugees' are assimilating in the main population of Bangladesh, the Cabinet Division order said.

The division expressed fear over deteriorating law and order, the spread of infectious disease, increasing health risk and creation of socioeconomic problems because of the Rohingyas.

The committees have been asked to take unified measures to prevent new intrusion of Rohingyas and stop the already entered Rohingyas from mixing in the main population.

The district committees have been asked to make lists of Rohingyas and help the authorities stop them leaving refugee camps.

They have also been asked to help the authorities transfer the registered and unregistered Rohingyas to the camp in Noakhali's Hatia gradually.

The National Coordination Committee and National Taskforce to deport undocumented citizens from Myanmar, headed by the foreign minister and secretary respectively, will coordinate the new committees.

The Chittagong divisional committee, headed by the divisional commissioner, includes Chittagong Metropolitan Police commissioner, Border Guard Bangladesh regional commander, deputy inspector general of police and refugee relief and repatriation commissioner.

The deputy commissioners are heading the three district committees. Additional deputy commissioners are member secretaries of these committees. 

Superintendent of police, civil surgeon, BGB sector commander's representative or the commanding officer, DGFI's Colonel GS, NSI joint or deputy director, Ansar and VDP district commander, divisional forest officer, Upazila executive officer, district statistics officer, Coast Guard station commander, and district relief and rehabilitation officer have been made members of the committees.

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