Narinjara News


Refugee camps threaten picturesque Cox’sbazar as repatriation process stalled

Dhaka, 25 October: At least two-and a half lakh Burmese Muslim refugees are now living in Bangladesh, namely in Cox’sbazar, Banderband and Chittagong. Among them, some 19,000 refugees have been waiting to return to their home in Burma for the last three months.

Sources said that the reasons for the suspension of the process for repatriation of the refugees for the last three months have thus far been unexplained.

According to sources, government officials and NGOs have r! ecently surveyed the camp refugees in Cox’sbazar, Bandarband and Chittagong and according to the survey reports, 2.46 lakh refugees have been staying in Bangladesh for quite a long time and 15,000 have reportedly been included in the voter list of Bangladesh. Quite a large number of them have also established various relationships with the local people.

The presence of such a large number of refugees has been became a grave threat to the environments of the picturesque resort town of Cox’sbazar, the hill town of Bandarband and the port city of Chittagong. Moreover, a good number of Burmese refugees are widely believed to be engaged in various types of crime, causing a deterioration of the local law and order situation.

According to the statistics provided by the government, about 18,000 Burmese Musl! im refugees were living in Ukhiya, Kutupalong and Nayapara camps and 5,000 are in Teknaf.

Sources also said that some Burmese Muslim refugees are involved in the smuggling of arms into Bangladesh. There is a 60 km stretch of the border along Teknaf, under Cox’sbazar district, which remains open due to lack of security measures and so is one of the main routes for arms smuggling. The criminals manage to cross into Bangladesh territory with arms virtually unnoticed by border guards. They supply the smuggled arms to the criminals and terrorist groups in the country. They also maintain several offices in Chittagong, Khagrachhari, Bangdarband, Cox’sbazar in order to maintain liaison with the local under world.

A report written by the US State Department last June discusses the allegation of the traf! ficking of Burmese nationals to various countries, through Bangladesh. The State Department report said that Bangladesh was being used as a transit country, as well as a country of origin, for human trafficking. The US report specifically claimed that Burmese nationals were particularly being trafficked through Bangladesh.

The officials told the BBC they were taking steps the stop any kind of human trafficking. The officials said the efficiency of the police and the Bangladesh Riffle (BDR) would have to be enhanced to check human trafficking, along with assistance from developing countries that might be sought after to deal with this problem. #


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