Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bangladesh Bans Rohingya From Marrying Bangladeshis

Bangladeshi men are dying to marry pretty
Rohingya girls at any cost.
Bangladesh court upholds ban on Rohingya marriage: A Bangladesh court on Monday upheld a government ruling banning marriage between its citizens and refugees from Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya minority, who have fled ethnic violence in the neighbouring country.

The High Court in Dhaka dismissed a legal challenge from a father whose son married a Rohingya teenager in a Muslim ceremony in September despite laws forbidding such unions. Marriages with Rohingya were banned in 2014 to try to prevent hundreds of thousands of refugees living in Bangladesh from seeking a back door to citizenship.

Babul Hossain, whose 26-year-old son ran away with his new wife after they married, questioned the legality of the ruling that threatens a seven-year jail term for any Bangladeshi who weds a Rohingya refugee. But the court rejected his plea and ordered he pay 100,000 taka ($1,200) in legal costs.

"The court rejected the petition and has upheld the administrative order, which bans marriage between Bangladeshi citizens and Rohingya people," deputy attorney general Motaher Hossain Saju told AFP. Hossain's request that the court protect his son from arrest was also rejected, Saju added.

About 655,000 Rohingya have escaped to Bangladesh since August after the Myanmar army began a campaign of rape and murder in Rakhine state. They joined the more than 200,000 refugees already living in Bangladesh who had fled previous violence in Rakhine.

Aid groups have reported cases of Bangladeshis offering young women marriage as a way of escaping the overcrowded refugee camps along Bangladesh's southeastern border. Hossain could not be contacted after the ruling.

But in a previous statement, he defended his son's marriage to the 18-year-old Rohingya woman and denied it was driven by a quest for citizenship. "If Bangladeshis can marry Christians and people of other religions, what´s wrong in my son´s marriage to a Rohingya?" Hossain told AFP. "He married a Muslim who took shelter in Bangladesh."

Foyzul Islam and Hafsa Bibi arrived in Bangladesh with little more than their 18-year-old daughter, Rafiza, after fleeing the violence engulfing their native Rakhine state in Myanmar.

Lost and afraid in the hustle and bustle of the refugee camp in Kutupalong, the family decided to try their luck elsewhere in the country. They fled to Singair in Manikganj on September 14 and took up shelter in the house of a local Muslim cleric. But as word spread of Rohingya refugees hiding in the village, curious local people flocked to see them.

Among the inquisitive onlookers was Shoaib Hossain Jewel, a 25-year-old teacher at a madrasa in Jatrabari. Shoaib felt his heart stirring at the sight of Rafiza. When the three Rohingya were rounded up by law enforcement and sent back to the camp in Kutupalong, little did they know that they were leaving with the heart of this lovestruck madrasa teacher.

Shoaib followed his heart to Teknaf. He searched camp after camp, spoke to hundreds of people, and finally tracked down Rafiza. He asked her parents for her hand, and in defiance of the 2014 ban on marrying Rohingyas by the government, the pair were wed.

Like every clich├ęd love story, theirs needed a final overwhelming obstacle to overcome. How would Shoaib sneak his Rohingya bride out of the camp, when the army had been tasked to take over administrative duties?

On September 21, a teacher coalition from Singair went to Teknaf to provide relief. Shoaib hid Rafiza under a burkha and joined the group on their way back to Manikganj on September 23.

But the thrill was not over just yet, as Shoaib and Rafiza went into hiding after returning to his village, afraid of government retribution. Shoaib’s family, although delighted by the prospect of their son getting married, remained quiet. However, a teacher who was part of the aid group that helped to liberate the couple from Kutupalong, and the local UP chairman, were not so guarded with the secret. Singair police had been alerted to this couple on the run.

This is the first known marriage between a Bangladeshi and a Rohingya after the August 2017 crisis broke out in Rakhine. The military crackdown by the Myanmar army has forced over 500,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh and thousands more are feared dead in what is being called a modern-day genocide or ethnic cleansing.

The marriage ban was issued by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs in July 2014 after the Cox’s Bazar district administration proposed a legal measure to prevent Rohingyas from assuming Bangladesh citizenship by marrying into the country.

Even pretty Hindu women and girls from Burma are being kidnapped and
converted to Islam and sold to Bangladeshi men.
A 2014 Law Bans Bangladeshis From Marrying Rohingyas

The government has imposed a ban on marriage between Bangladeshis and Rohingyas – Muslim refugees from neighbouring Myanmar – to address the threat of an increasing population of the intruders.

The registration directorate under the Law Ministry yesterday issued a circular imposing the ban on registering such marriages terming Rohingyas “non-Bangladeshi nationals.” The circular said: “Punitive actions will be taken against those marriage registrars who will register the marriage of any Rohingya in Bangladesh.”

The ban follows a proposal placed by Cox’s Bazar district administration a couple of months ago. “We floated the idea at the Cabinet Division so that it is raised and discussed in the [ongoing] DC [deputy commissioner] conference in Dhaka,” Cox’s Bazar DC Ruhul Amin told the Dhaka Tribune over phone.

He said the move against marriage between Bangladeshis and Rohingyas came in the backdrop of rising threat of an increasing Rohingya population. The ban on such marriages will be applicable for both types of Rohingyas in Bangladesh – those who live in the registered refugee camps and those living outside the camps as illegal immigrants.

“This move is meant to stop a Rohingya influx from Myanmar into Bangladesh and also to check their strategy of becoming permanent residents or citizens of Bangladesh by such marriages,” said DC Ruhul.  

The climbing number of Rohingya population over the last couple of decades or so, especially in Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong and the three hill districts, has emerged as a growing concern for the country. Bangladesh now officially accommodates 32,355 Rohingya refugees in two registered camps in Cox’s Bazar. However, different local estimates put the number at 3-5 lakh, most of whom live illegally in and around the Cox’s Bazar area.

In 2004, unofficial estimates suggested that the number was around 2 lakh. Since then, the number has been gradually increasing with hundreds of Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar in small groups and illegally entering Bangladesh every month.

Population growth rate and the family size of the rapid-breeding Rohingya refugees are much higher than those of the Bangladeshis. According to the 2011 census, the average family size in the country is 4.4. But local officials say the figure is over 8 in the Rohingya refugee camps. Bangladesh’s population growth rate is 1.34%; but the Rohingyas are growing at about 4% annually.

Traditionally, Rohingyas have illegally entered Bangladesh mainly to avoid repression by the government and sectarian clashes. However, poverty has also emerged as a major reason why they seek to come to Bangladesh, thanks mainly to poor guarding by the Bangladeshi border security force, local residents say.

Bangladesh experienced the first spike in Rohingya intrusion 1978 followed by another in 1991; since then, the intrusion has become common in Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar. On those two occasions, Bangladesh opened the doors on humanitarian grounds to thousands of Rohingya refugees, who fled their homes to avoid sectarian clashes, and gave them shelter in camps in Cox’s Bazar.

Till date, two such camps exist in Teknaf and Cox’s Bazar, where more than 32,000 refugees live, according to a recent survey jointly conducted by the government and the UNHCR. The surveyors found that 30-35 refugees – both male and female – were married to Bangladeshis. These couples have around 70-80 children, said Farid Ahmed Bhuiyan, Rohingya refugee repatriation commissioner (RRRC) in Cox’s Bazar. He said the registered Rohingyas had the mandate to marry someone from their camps.

The RRRC office recently sent information about these 35 Rohingya-Bangladeshi families to the Home Ministry, asking the authorities to decide on the status of their children in line with existing laws on nationality and citizenship, Farid said.

He also said the repatriation of Rohingya refugees had remained stalled since July 2005. “The huge number of undocumented Rohingyas is a huge burden for densely populated Bangladesh.” The RRRC said the rise in the number of Rohingyas was alarming and the government had been planning to conduct a survey to know the actual number of undocumented Rohingyas.

“They are citizens of Myanmar. They all should be repatriated to Myanmar honourably,” Farid said. “We have been asking all to think about how they can be repatriated instead of thinking about integrating them with Bangladesh.”

Cox’s Bazar DC Ruhul said: “If someone go to a country, they need documents such as passport and visa. But Rohingyas are coming to Bangladesh without any paper, they are marrying Bangladeshi citizens and getting permanent citizenship.

“When a Rohingya gets married to a Bangladeshi, he or she becomes a voter by obtaining a national identity card. They then bring in their neighbours and relatives from Myanmar who again follow the same strategy to become permanent citizens here,” the DC said. “This has to be stopped.”

Rohingya husband and his Bangladeshi wife: They are same Bengali-Muslim people
speaking same language & looking exactly same & having same religion Islam.
Yesterday’s circular, banning the cross marriages, also said registrars were appointed according to existing laws to timber the union of Bangladeshi nationals. They have neither the right nor the authority to register the marriage of any non-Bangladeshi national.

Law Minister Anisul Haque told the Dhaka Tribune that the marriage registrars’ work fell under his ministry. “We have instructed them to abstain from documenting Rohingya marriages. We will take steps against them if they violate the instruction of the legal authority.”

He also said the procedure for registering the marriage of a citizen of any other country is different from that for registering the marriage of a Bangladeshi. “It is all right if they follow the internationally accredited procedure. We have nothing to say. But restrictions will be applicable if they register the marriage of a Rohingya in ways similar to those followed for registering the marriage of a Bangladeshi,” the minister said.

The registration of such marriages would be cancelled automatically if it could be proved that they were not Bangladeshis. At the DC conference yesterday, the law minister asked the deputy commissioners to stop Rohingya refugees marrying as Bangladeshi nationals. The registrars were also instructed to refrain from the practice.

Asked what would happen to the Rohingyas, who are already married to Bangladeshi citizens, Cox’s Bazar DC Ruhul said the matter would be discussed and decided on later. He also said: “If we get any complaint that a Rohingya has married a Bangladeshi citizen claiming themselves as a Bangladeshi citizen, we will take legal steps if we get proofs.”

The Cox’s Bazar district administration has held meetings with the BGB and police and have all adopted a “zero tolerance” policy to deal with the intrusions, the DC said.

(Blogger’s Notes: If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it's a duck. A Rohingya talks like a Bengali, walks like a Bengali, and looks like a Bengali, thus he or she is a Bengali. Why is the Bangladesh persistently denying the solid fact that the so-called Rohingya are the Bengali-Muslims and the descendants of illegal Bangladeshis formerly known as Chittagongnians.)