Biometric ID cards in three months
Media: The Independent
Original URL: Biometric ID cards in three months
E-paper URL: Biometric ID cards in three months
The Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP) and Cox’s Bazar district administration would provide biometric ID cards to Rohingyas living in refugee camps at Balukhali within three months. The ID cards would ensure that the refugees cannot move anywhere outside Cox’s Bazar, officials said.
Following a directive from the home ministry’s Public Security Division yesterday, the DIP has extended the number of booths to provide the ID cards from 10 to 20 in order to quicken the refugee enrolment process.
A total of 5,800 Rohingyas have been registered since September 11, officials said yesterday.
Public Security Division secretary Mostafa Kamal Uddin told The Independent that the DIP director general has assured them to complete the enrolment of Rohingya refugees within three months.
“We have asked the DIP to enrol at least 5,000 to 6,000 Rohingyas daily for providing them with ID cards within three months,” he said.
“Additional forces from various law enforcement agencies have been deployed in and around the camps, and a number of check posts have also been set up across the country so that the Rohingyas cannot go anywhere out of Cox’s Bazar district,” he added.
The director general of DIP, Maj. Gen. Md Masud Rezwan, said they have arranged for
the necessary devices and equipment to increase the number of booths to hasten the enrolment process for the biometric ID cards.
“The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has already given us 10 computers for helping in the enrolment of Rohingyas,” he said.
“We want to complete the process of providing the ID cards to the refugees within the shortest possible time,” he added.
Additional district magistrate (ADM) of Cox’s Bazar, Khaled Mahmud, who is tasked with monitoring the refugee camps, said they were trying to bring in all the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Balukhali so that “they could not spread to other places in the country”. “We’re giving them food, necessary medical facilities, and other support for their survival. We’re setting up tubewells to ensure drinking water for them. We’re also establishing proper sanitation facilities for the refugess,” the ADM noted.
“We can enrol at least 500 Rohingyas every day with our present arrangements. It would be increased as per future requirements,” he added.
The Independent visited a biometric registration booth at Kutuplaong and found long queues of Rohingyas, including women and children, waiting for enrolment.
“I came here at for the registration at 8 am. It’s now 12 noon, and I am still waiting in the queue behind at least 200 people. I do not know if I would be able to resister or not,” said Qurban Ali, 34, who hailed from Narayansong of Maungdaw in Myanmar.
Another Rohingya refugee, Mohammad Ali, 30, said he got the registration after waiting for three hours in a queue. “However, the card does not mention my address,” he added. Mahmud admitted that the process for registering the refugees is going at a slow pace due to several hurdles. “We have to suspend work for long hours due to load shedding. There is also shortage of manpower for conducting the registrations,” he added.
He said that registration was supposed to start at 17 places in Ukhiya, Teknaf and Naikhoinchhari upazilas. “But the authorities concerned could not do so due to lack of logistical support as well as shortage of electricity and manpower. So, it only started at Balukhali in Ukhiya,” he added.
On September 11, the government had launched the biometric registration process for the Rohingyas escaping into Bangladesh.
The DIP has been tasked with supervising the enrolment project, while the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) would handle its execution with technical assistance from the software development firm Tiger IT Bangladesh Limited.
The government has decided to bring in all the Rohingya refugees to Balukhali in Ukhiya and start their biometric registration. The government is also going to allocate 2,000 acres of land for this project.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, over 500,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh since renewed violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on August 25 and the number is growing daily.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has appealed to world leaders to put pressure on the Myanmarese government to take back their nationals.