Rohingyas are flooding over the border into Bangladesh in the tens of thousands. We fear that this will create a lot of problems for us in the future because these Rohingyas are not being registered by the administration. By the UN's estimates, some 1,23,000 Rohingyas have crossed the border over the last two days. Our own reports put the number at 95,000. Again estimates vary wildly across media outlets. So, there is no accurate number of refugees crossing the border daily. Given the gravity of the issue and future developments, it is imperative that the Rohingyas are registered and accounted for. It is also necessary to separate them from the local populace, which is not the case now.
Unless we register these displaced people, Myanmar might not take them back later on, claiming that they are not ethnic Rohingya but Bangladeshis. If we look at the first wave of Rohingyas who came to Bangladesh fleeing persecution in 1978, they were registered as refugees and it provided the groundwork for their subsequent repatriation at a later stage. However, it has not been the case in recent times. Today, we have six camps and only two of them are registered (Kutpalong and Balukhali). Many of the new arrivals are living on public land, along the Cox's Bazar-Teknaf highway without effective control mechanism in place.
The newly arrived Rohingyas are now mingling with the local populace, and unless we control this situation, it will become a serious problem for us in the future. It is time for us to work with UN agencies to put in place some sort of registration mechanism to avoid future problems when the time is right to repatriate them to their own country.