• Tuesday, Apr 07, 2020
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Home minister: Barbed wire fencing underway around Rohingya camps

  • Published at 05:24 pm February 15th, 2020
Rohingya Camp
Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Surveillance on Rohingyas is not weak at all, he says

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said barbed wire fences are being constructed around the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar to prevent the refugees from leaving their shelters. 

He was speaking to journalists after an event organized to celebrate the 25th founding anniversary of Bangladesh Coast Guard at its headquarters in Dhaka's Agargaon on Saturday.

When asked if surveillance on Rohingyas had become weak, the minister said: "The surveillance is not weak at all. You know there are 1,100,000 Rohingyas living [in Cox's Bazar], which is three times the population of Teknaf. 

"Rohingyas have been placed under the supervision of our law enforcement agencies, including police, RAB, BGB and Ansar forces."

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal addresses an event organized to celebrate the 25th founding anniversary of Bangladesh Coast Guard at its headquarters in Dhaka's Agargaon on Saturday, February 15, 2020 | Dhaka TribuneThe barbed wire fences were being erected around the Rohingya camps on the instructions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he said.

"Our armed forces have already begun the process of their construction. The main objective of erecting the fences is to ensure that the Rohingyas do not leave the camp and join our community."

In addition, watchtowers and CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras would be set up to further strengthen surveillance on the Rohingya camps, he said, adding: "Therefore, all our law enforcement forces at the Rohingya camps must always be prepared to face any challenges." 

When asked about negotiations with Myanmar over Rohingya repatriation, the home minister said discussions with Myanmar were still ongoing. He was hopeful that Myanmar would agree to take back its nationals someday.

Regarding the Bangladesh Coast Guard, Home Minister Asaduzzaman said the coast guard had become a powerful force. 

"They have been working on preventing various offenses, including smuggling and illegal fishing." The coast guard is also working on protecting the environment, he added.

Earlier, the home minister distributed Bangladesh Coast Guard Medal, President Coast Guard Medal, Bangladesh Coast Guard (Seba) Medal and President Coast Guard (Seba) Medal to 40 members of the maritime law enforcement force for their significant contributions to the development and operation of the Bangladesh Coast Guard. 

Mostafa Kamal Uddin, senior secretary of the Public Security Division under the Ministry of Home Affairs, said various steps had been taken to modernize the force. 

"The organizational structure of the force has already been expanded. Various infrastructures, including modern training bases, have been built," he added. 

Bangladesh Coast Guard Director General Rear Admiral M Ashraful Haq said robberies in Chittagong port had come down to zero level due to the relentless efforts of the force.

The international agency ReCAAP (Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery) has acknowledged these efforts in its report, he added.