Over 270,000 Rohingya Refugees Registered in Bangladesh’s Squalid Settlements

270,348 Rohingya refugees have been registered in Bangladesh’s southern Cox’s Bazar district in squalid settlements, says the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

An official statement by the refugee agency said over 4,000 refugees are registered per day, in an exercise with the aim of concluding the registration of all those in the settlements later this year.

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The UN High Commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi said many of these people did not have proper identification all their life. He described it as an incredible step into a more dignified life. In recent months, the Bangladesh authorities and UNHCR have held meetings with leading Rohingya figures, like imaams, elders and teachers on the registration process.

UNHRC spokesman Andrej Mahecic said the ID card includes a photo and key information such as name, date of birth and place of birth; it also shows Myanmar as their country of origin. Mahecic explained that the first and foremost purpose of the registration is humanitarian.

“In order to safeguard their right to return, to regulate their stay and also to make sure that we do not know only how many people there are, that we have a detailed profile which allows us with the more accurate data to deliver far better assistance to this massive refugee population.”

Mahecic said the data will allow aid agencies to target assistance to people in acute need including women and children heading families and people with disabilities. He further said that the registration data will help reunite families who are separated during storms.

In August of 2017, over 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mainly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh. Myanmar forces had launched an inhumane crackdown on this minority Muslim community. According to Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA), about 24,000 Rohingya Muslims, since August 25 of 2017, have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces.

Moreover, the report, ‘Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience’, says over 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 were beaten. And hundreds and thousands of the minority community’s homes were burned down and about 113,000 vandalized.

The United Nations has described the Rohingya as the ‘world’s most persecuted people’. This community has faced heightened fears of attacks since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.