Bangladesh has banned official marriages between its nationals and Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya refugees as they wed and use the marriage certificate for getting citizenship and Bangladeshi passports.
“The Inspector General of Registration under the Law Ministry issued an order prohibiting ‘kazis’ (marriage registrars) from recording any marriage between the Myanmar refugees and Bangladeshi citizens,” a spokesman of law ministry said.
He said the government’s decision came amid growing incidence of weddings between the Bangladeshis and the Rohingyas, the Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Buddhist-majority Rakhine State, as they use the marriage certificate for citizenship and availing Bangladeshi passports.
“Hundreds of Rohingyas, who actually are Myanmar nationals, are now going to different middle eastern and other countries with Bangladeshi passports to avail jobs. We frequently face difficult situations for their acts abroad,” a foreign ministry official had earlier said.
The circular was issued a day after law minister Anisul Huq directed the deputy commissioners to take action against marriage registrars responsible for recording marriages of Rohingya refugees with locals in Bangladesh.
“Marriage registration of Rohingyas is not legal. The deputy commissioners have been asked to take action if any marriage-registrar records such marriages,” the minister said.
He added even if the marriage of a Rohingya was registered in Bangladesh, it would have no legal validity.
The refugees fled their country to take refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh amid reported repression by the then Myanmar junta in 1991 while the exodus also took place on a massive scale in two subsequent phases while Dhaka estimated their number ranging between 400,000 and 500,000.
The Rohingya, who make up the vast majority of those displaced in the fighting, are described by the UN as among the world’s most persecuted minorities and are not officially recognised as citizens of Myanmar since 1982 while the UN called on all countries in the region to open their borders to Rohingya boat people in the wake of recent fatal tragedies.