Burma Times Correspondent: September 15, 2015
The Bangladesh government will start conducting a census this month to determine the number of unregistered Rohingya refugees in the country, according to bdnews24.
Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) will conduct the census in six districts – Khagrhachharhi, Bandarban, Rangamati, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, and Patuakhali.
“We’ll have to finish the work by March next year,” Project Director Alamgir Hossain told bdnews24.com. He also said the ground work for the project has been laid up in the last five months and the Planning Commission cleared Tk 217.5 million fund for the project on Wednesday.
Along with the local administration and the people’s representatives, Hossain expressed hope NGOs working for the Rohingyas will co-operate with the government venture.
According to bdnews 24, officials involved in the project have said a national taskforce committee headed by the foreign secretary has been formed to encourage unregistered Rohingyas to join the process. Rohingyas who join the government initiative will get government facilities and aid from NGOs, Bangladesh government officials have claimed. A database formed following the project will have pictures and general information about Rohingyas.
There are concerns the census will be unable to incorporate most refugees and Rohingyas will unlikely come forward on their own accord. Bangladesh views the Rohingyas as unwanted guests and there are fears Rohingyas joining the process might be deported back to Burma where religious persecution is even worse than before.
The Bangladesh foreign ministry has said the fate of the Rohingyas will be decided after documenting them.
One of the main objectives of the Bangladesh government is to strike the Rohingyas off the voter lists.
The census will take place in the districts of Khagrhachharhi, Bandarban, Rangamati, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, and Patuakhali.