Bangladesh, since 2008, has been working to introduce the national ID card. This would ensure that the Bangladeshi population enrol into education and find jobs through a channel that would be somewhat more ‘legitimate’ than one that has been employed since the onset of Bangladesh, namely through bribes and monetary persuasion.
However the Rohingyans, a group of people who have been thrown out of Burma by the junta due to their ‘non-adherence’ to the Burmese culture, will be negatively affected by this action. Fleeing to Bangladesh from the mid-90’s, they now have set refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf where officially 200,000 reside in.
These refugees will not be eligible to qualify for the national ID card which would instantaneously increase the already enormous gap between Bangladesh nationals and the Rohingyan community. They will be prevented access to a number of public services, no capacity to obtain birth registration, access to key health services or even micro-credit programmes.
But most importantly Rohingyan adults will be prevented from getting jobs, it will officially be illegal; as a result the community will find it challenging to find ways to support their family.
“According to a report by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department, food insecurity…will worsen and become an acute and protracted humanitarian crisis if the unregistered refugees are unable to engage in income generating activities and humanitarian access is challenged.“
Bangladesh needs to come to some sort of solution to assist the Rohingiyan community; obstructing their rights to access of basic human components will only make matters worse for the nation.
Like Malaysia, the country needs to make full use of the habitation of the Rohingyans – they need to truly bring them into the folds of Bangladesh, as opposed to imprisoning them in Cox’s Bazar or Teknaf, which would not only help the Rohingyans to feed their families but also allow them to make economic and labour contributions to the advancements of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh needs to realise that they would be onto a win-win situation if they provided the Rohingyans more autonomy and gave them their God-given right to live.
To read more: http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=92302