Although there has been some progress in implementation of the national strategy to deal with the issues of Rohingya refugees in the country, the repatriation process will take some more time to begin, observed officials.
The government is also planning to strictly follow the guidelines of the national strategy that stressed increasing vigilance along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border to stop further intrusion of Rohingyas from the Arakan State of Myanmar through both land and sea routes, they added.
The Foreign Ministry in 2010 formulated the strategy, aiming to put an end to intrusion into the country by Myanmar citizens and sending undocumented Rohingya refugees back to their country.
Later, the Cabinet in September last year also approved the strategy.
Among other things, the strategic paper suggests reinforcement of patrol by the law enforcers along the border, bringing undocumented Rohingya refugees under surveillance and creating pressure internationally on Myanmar to take back Rohingyas.
Home Ministry sources said officials concerned in two districts — Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban — which share border with Myanmar have been directed to monitor undocumented Rohingyas.
Deputy Commissioner of Cox’s Bazar Humayun Kabir said Rohingyas enter the country in groups though sea-routes in the guise of fishermen.
A gang is reportedly abetting groups of Rohingyas (one group comprises 10-15 Rohingyas) to board from one ship to another in the sea on their way to Bangladesh.
Besides, the Rohingyas flee into Bangladesh through Bandarban border areas.
However, the DC claimed that the flow of intruders has decreased due to steps against them.
Home Ministry sources also noted that Border Guard Bangladesh have been asked to increase vigilance on the border to foil intrusion bids by the Rohingyas.
The Foreign Ministry is monitoring the whole process, they added.
Foreign Ministry director general (UN affairs) Saida Muna Tasneem told UNB, “In accordance with the strategy, Rohingya refugees willing to go back to their homeland will be sent back. Besides refugees, discussions are on with Myanmar authorities to find ways over sending back undocumented Rohingyas.”
She said it is possible to send Rohingyas refugees back to their country through bilateral discussions between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Contacted, Dr CR Abrar of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMU) said successive governments did not consider Rohingya issue with due importance giving birth to various problems.
Asked about the undocumented Rohingyas, he put the figure at five lakh and suggested that the government prepare a list of them.
Over the strategic paper prepared by the government, Dr CR Abrar said he is not aware of the paper, but stressed that the government should have formulated such paper after eliciting opinion of general people and forums concerned.
Observing that the government would not be able to repatriate all Rohingyas very quickly, he stressed the importance of bilateral discussions between Bangladesh and Myanmar in this regard.
On humanitarian grounds, he said, the government should provide shelter to the Rohingyas entering the country out of their security concern.
Government officials as well as minister on several occasions in the past mentioned that besides the official figure of Rohingya refugees, there are about five lakh unregistered Rohingyas living illegally in the country.
Foreign Ministry Sources said Rohingyas surpasses Bangladeshi nationals in some areas of Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar and those of Bandarban, reports UNBConnect.cccom.