Hasina to visit Rohingya refugee camp on Tuesday

Dhaka, Sep 10 (IANS) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will on Tuesday visit camps for Rohingya refugees in the southeastern part of the country, an official said even as the government allotted 2,000 acres of forest land in Coxs Bazar area to accommodate the refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar.

Hasina will be visiting the Kutupalang camp in Cox's Bazar, Ashraful Alam, Deputy Press Secretary to the PM, told bdnews24.com on Sunday.

Rohingyas have arrived in Bangladesh in thousands fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The Bangladesh government has also decided to prepare a biometric database of the Rohingya refugees, Dhaka Tribune reported.

"The numbers of the Rohingyas are increasing everyday and they have taken shelter in different places. So, we have allotted the land to keep them in one place," Shah Kamal, Secretary in the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry, said while visiting Rohingya camps.

The Passport Directorate has been tasked to make a list of the Rohingyas with their names, photos and finger prints, an official said.

According to UN, more than 290,000 people are believed to have crossed the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh, tripling the Rohingya population in Cox's Bazar in two weeks.

Over the last few decades, almost half a million Rohingya Muslims have been living in two registered camps and makeshift settlements bordering Cox's Bazar, fleeing persecution and communal violence.

Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingya people as its citizens, neither has it responded to Bangladesh's frequent calls to take back the refugees, bdnews24 reported.

Attacks on a police camp in October last year sparked an influx of almost 87,000 refugees into Bangladesh. Fresh violence broke out on August 25 when insurgents attacked 30 police posts and an army base.

About 300,000 Rohingyas are said to have fled Rakhine and sought shelter across the border in Bangladesh in the weeks since the fresh violence.

As many as 400 people have been reported killed in fighting that has rocked the country's northwest, according to Myanmar officials.

Bangladesh has proposed creating "safe zones" run by aid groups for the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine to stop hundreds of thousands of refugees crossing into its territory.

Dhaka had earlier suggested a joint operation with Myanmar forces on the border to wipe out militant and extremist forces, but Naypyidaw has not responded.

In Buddhist-majority Myanmar, many consider the 1.1 million Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Hasina said last week that Bangladesh was trying its best to support the refugees.

"We are also mounting pressure on Myanmar, so that their citizens can return to their homeland," she said on Thursday while addressing a meeting of the ruling Awami League's executive body.

--IANS
rn/dg

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