ROHINGYAS ‘STILL ENTERING BD TERRITORIES’ DESPITE VIGILANCE
Despite the increased vigilance along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, Rohingyas are still managing to enter the country’s water territories in small fishing boats and board small ships that reportedly take them away to Malaysia.
According to sources at the Home Ministry, the small ships used to deport the Rohingyas to the third country are anchored somewhere along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border and the illegal trafficking is run by a cartel comprised of people from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand.
Talking to UNB, Deputy Commissioner of Cox’s Bazar Ruhul Amin admitted that Rohingyas used to enter the country in groups through sea routes in the guise of fishermen.
However, the DC claimed that the flow of intruders has come down to almost a zero level in recent times.
Asked about the claims that Rohingyas are still managing to enter Bangladesh to migrate to a third country using fake documents, he said, “Those who had entered Bangladesh territories in the past are managing to do so. At present, the intrusion has stopped.”
He mentioned that there is no official record about most of the Rohingya refugees living in the country other than the 30,000 registered ones.
The DC also noted that they have prepared a list of fishermen in Teknaf, Kutubdia and Maheshkhali upazilas of the district. “If all the fishermen in the district are provided with the ID cards, it’ll be easier to detect illegal Rohingyas passing the Bangladesh territory onto fishing boats,” he said.
Contacted, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has said the government is showing zero tolerance for drug trafficking and Rohingya intrusion along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.
He noted that all the government agencies, including the law enforcers, the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) and the Cost Guard have recently beefed up the vigilance along the border to prevent illegal intrusion of Rohingyas.
According to a recent study by the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) of Dhaka University, Rohingyas from Myanmar use Bangladesh as the transit point for going to Malaysia by sea or to India by land.
The study said Malaysia is the most important destination for Rohingyas followed by Saudi Arabia.
It costs Tk 40,000 to Tk 60,000 to reach Malaysia by boat and no documentation is required, it added.
In an article, Stina Ljungdell, UNHCR representative to Bangladesh, noted that ‘thousands of Rohingya have continued to flee Myanmar and sought safety elsewhere’. “Abuse and exploitation are common along the way and many lose their lives at sea,” she wrote.
Referring to a statement published by UNHCR last week, Stina Ljungdell also mentioned that an estimated 86,000 people, mostly Rohingya, have sailed on boats since June 2012.
“More than 1,300 have died on the journey and hundreds have been ill-treated in overcrowded camps run by traffickers and people smugglers,” she sated.
DECEMBER 21, 2014