Operation of three NGOs barred | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 03, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 03, 2012

Rohingya Refugee

Operation of three NGOs barred

Govt says prior permission required; 9 held from Dhaka hotel

The government has banned operations of three international NGOs in Ukhia and Teknaf of Cox's Bazar from last Monday for illegally providing aid to Rohingya intruders.
The NGOs are France's Doctors without Borders (MSF), Actions against Hunger (ACF), and Britain's Muslim Aid.
“Any NGO wishing to work in border areas must obtain approval from the NGO Affairs Bureau which in this case the three organisations did not have,” said Joynul Bari, deputy commissioner of Cox's Bazar, adding that the illegal operations had been encouraging Rohingyas to intrude into Bangladesh territory.
Meanwhile, detectives on Wednesday night arrested nine unregistered Rohingyas at a residential hotel in the capital's Fakirerpool area.
The decision of banning the activities of the NGOs came at a time when hundreds of Rohingya refugees were trying to enter Bangladesh due to the sectarian violence in the Rakhaine state of Myanmar that left around 80 people dead over the last two months.
During the time, Bangladesh authorities had been pushing back refugees seeking shelter here. The action drew criticism from various rights bodies, but the government had responded saying that the global community should ask Myanmar to address the longstanding problems with Rohingyas.
According to Bangladesh government, around 30,000 registered Rohingyas are staying at two camps in Cox's Bazar while around five lakh unregistered Rohingyas live in Cox's Bazar and adjacent districts.
Joynul Bari said the NGOs banned in the district had been carrying out anti-state activities and campaigning against Bangladesh to international media, reports our Cox's Bazar correspondent.
“The organisations will close their office and leave the area within two to three days,” Bari added.
S M Asrafuzzaman, director of NGO Affairs Bureau, told The Daily Star that the bureau had asked the NGOs to stop their unapproved projects in Cox's Bazar, but not the service to the registered refugees.
Contacted, Mahtabi Zaman, media and communication officer of Bangladesh field office of Muslim Aid UK, said one of their projects had been providing life saving items like drinking water and medicine both to poor Bangalees and unregistered Rohingyas.
Another project of the organisation on primary and technical education for Bangladeshis had the government approval. This project was also ordered to cease operations, she said.
Approached, an official of MSF declined to comment on the issue.
ANM Nazim Uddin, upazila nirbahi officer of Teknaf, said Muslim Aid had already stopped their operation there and the other two were preparing to wrap up.
The detainees were identified as Hossain Ahmed, 40, Shahjahan Miah, 30, Mohammad Hashim, 19, Mohammad Zubair, 20, Mohammad Aiyub, 20, Mohammad Shafiullah, 18, Habib Hossain, 35, Mohammad Yasin, 18, and Jobair, 18, said Deputy Commissioner Masudur Rahman, in-charge of Media and Community Service of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Sources said the Rohingyas had been living in Dhaka for over a month and were trying to get Bangladeshi passports.
Khandoker Nurunnabi, additional deputy commissioner (ADC) of Detective Branch (South), said the detainees admitted that many of their relatives had already gone to the Middle East managing Bangladeshi passports. They were also trying to manage Bangladeshi citizenship and passports.
“We are now trying to find those who are involved in making fake citizenship certificates, passports and other documents,” said the ADC, adding that they were also investigating how the wrongdoers had been managing police verification certificates and visas for non-Bangladeshi people.

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