Dhaka, Oct 5: The Bangladesh government on Thursday decided to identify Rohingya refugees as “forcefully displaced Myanmar citizens”.
Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya made the announcement at a press conference after his visit to the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, the Dhaka Tribune reported.
While addressing media, He said according to the decision of the Foreign Ministry, the state will identify Rohingya people as forcefully displaced Myanmar citizens. This identity will be assigned from today.
The number of unregistered refugees who began coming into Bangladesh from Myanmar since August 25 has already exceeded 500,000, the Minister said.
Presently, a total of 400,000 Rohingya are already living in the state as refugees and will be brought under the biometric registration system.
So far 61,000 refugees have registered themselves and at the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar, 6,000-7,000 people were getting registered every day, he added.
Earlier, the government had allocated 2,000 acres of land to construct temporary shelters for the Rohingya in Kutupalong and Balukhali.
But with more refuges are arriving, the Bangladesh government is sanctioning another 1,000 acres of land for accommodation of the refugees.
The World Health Organisation is providing food for 520,000 people and the rest is being provided from various local and international relief efforts, Maya said.
“The refugees need a daily supply of 120,000 tons of rice. All of that is being supplied from foreign aid. The government has provided 10 tons of rice and Tk30 lakh from its own reserves,” he added.
When asked whether the allocation of additional land would be harmful to the local ecology and forestation, the minister stated “This land belongs to the Forest Department but it was not a dense forestation, so it will not be very harmful.”
In response to the question that why registration of the Rohingya refugees had not been given to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, Maya said “We have not declared them as refugees, so we cannot involve UNHCR in this. We are sheltering these people purely for humanitarian reasons. We are hoping that they will go back to their country soon.”
On October 2, Myanmar proposed to take back the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh.