The Department of Immigration and Passports in 50 days till Monday completed registrations of 3.5 lakh Rohingyas entering Bangladesh to flee violence and persecution in their motherland Rakhine State of Myanmar.
Department officials said that they could not confirm when the registration process would be completed as the influx of Rohingyas into Bangladesh fleeing ethnic cleansing, beginning from August 25, continued.
About 13,000 Rohingyas were being registered a day, they mentioned.
‘Registration is in full swing. The representatives from army and BGB [Border Guard Bangladesh] are providing with computer operators to speed up the process,’ said the department director general Major General Masud Rezwan.
He said that United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and International Organisation for Migration were giving assistance to the registration process. The UNHCR is providing with interpreters, he added.
Until Monday, 3,51,045 Rohingyas were registered, the officials said, adding that the male and female ratio was almost equal.
On Monday, 6,617 male and 5,024 female were registered.
Highest number of registration was performed so far at Balukhali camp and the lowest at Leda camp.
‘Initially, the number of the male was low as they were inside Myanmar sending their female family members but later they came,’ said a department official.
The home ministry on September 10 tasked the department to register all Rohingyas who had taken shelter in Bangladesh fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar at times since 1978.
The move came amid continued huge influx of Rohingyas that began after Myanmar security forces responded to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s reported attacks on August 25 by launching violence what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing.
According to the decision, the department set up registrations booths inside the temporary shelters of Rohingyas.
‘We come to full operation from September 25,’ said Major General Masud Rezwan, adding that 94 booths were now in operation in seven temporary camps in Cox’s Bazar.
The department officials said that they were collecting the name, original address in Myanmar and biometric information. They are writing ‘Myanmar’ as the nationality of Rohingyas.
‘Many Rohingyas are unhappy as the word Rohingya is missing in the forms, so we added their religion as well,’ said another official.
The Tk 105-crore project is being implemented by the department through the MRP and MRV project.
MRP and MRV project director Brigadier General Saidur Rahman Khan said that they were not sure when the registration would be completed but ‘we want all of them [Rohingyas] to be registered.’
He said that their main target was to provide identity cards to each of the undocumented Myanmar nationals living in Bangladesh.
‘We are compiling their information so that they cannot obtain Bangladesh passport and National Identification Card and cannot be mixed up with the local people,’ said Saidur.
The department officials said that they were not officially aware of the exact number of the Rohingyas now living in Bangladesh.
According to UN estimation on Sunday, 6,07,000 Rohingyas had entered Bangladesh since the beginning of the new influx, what the United Nations called the world’s fastest-developing refugee emergency, on August 25.
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