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25 September, 2017 12:33:15 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 25 September, 2017 10:48:06 AM
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Rohingya newborns to get stateless tag

SHAMSUDDIN ILLIUS back from Cox’s Bazar
Rohingya newborns to get stateless tag

All children being born to Rohingya mothers at no man’s land and Banglaesh territory, including the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, are likely to be termed “stateless”. Both Myanmar and Bangladesh do not consider these newborns as their citizens. In the wake of the recent spell of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, 430,000 Rohingyas have crossed over to Bangladesh. Over 500 children were born at no man’s land when their mothers were fleeing from Myanmar.

“Around 250 children were born at Rohingya refugee camps since August 25. Besides, more than 20,000 expectant mothers have entered Bangladesh,” said Dr Md Abdul Salam, civil surgeon of Cox’s Bazar district. On October 9 last year, 87,000 Rohingyas had infiltrated into Bangladesh and around 5,000 children had been born at Rohingya refugee camps at that time, said sources in UN aid agencies.

In accordance with the Citizenship Act 1951, the children born to Rohingya mothers will not be considered citizens of Bangladesh. The different categories of citizenship—by birth, descent, migration and naturalisation—do not allow them to be citizens of Bangladesh. Similarly, the Myanmar citizenship

law of 1982 will not treat the newborns as Myanmarese citizens as they will considered to have been migrated to Bangladesh.

In case of any repatriation, those Rohingyas who entered  Bangladesh with the national identity (NID) card of Myanmar issued in 1978, or the temporary citizen card issued in 1991, or the green card issued in 2015 may return to their country. But the fate of the newly born Rohingya children without any birth record is uncertain.

“According to the law, a child born in Bangladesh to alien parents cannot be a citizen of Bangladesh by birth or by descent. A Rohingya child born to two Rohingya parents cannot a be Bangladeshi citizen,” said Ashraful Azad, assistant professor of the international relations department at the University of Chittagong. “However, if a child is born to parents one of whom is a Bangladeshi citizen, he/she can acquire Bangladeshi citizenship. In such a situation, it remains unclear whether the citizenship would be automatic or must be granted by the government,” he noted.

“Although such a child is entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship, the authorities are reluctant to register and provide such citizenship. There are no known cases where a child born to one Bangladeshi parent and one Rohingya parent acquired Bangladeshi citizenship using this legal provision,” he observed. “According to the Myanmar citizenship law of 1982, Rohingyas are not considered a ‘national race’ of the country and thus have been denied citizenship. The people who settled in Myanmar before 1823 are considered national race,” he added.

“Since no countries consider these newborns as their citizens, they are born with a permanent identity of being stateless,” said Azad.

IK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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