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Govt seeks UN database on Rohingya to prevent NID forgery

Staff Reporter:

The government is seeking to utilize the Rohingya refugee database maintained by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to prevent Rohingyas from obtaining Bangladeshi identity documents.

This move comes amid concerns over Rohingyas forging documents like national identity cards, passports, or birth registrations and posing a security threat.

In this regard, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The UNHCR has a database of Rohingyas and if we can use that information, it will not be possible for the Rohingyas to collect identity cards.”

He said that a technical committee has been formed in this regard. The database is expected to be operational within a few months.

The United Nations agency has already given initial consent to the proposal sent by the government.

According to the proposal, the government wants to utilize the existing Rohingya database to thwart their attempts to acquire any form of national identification.

What is in the database?
The Rohingya database contains comprehensive information collected since the influx began in August 2017. It was initially created through a joint project between the Bangladesh Department of Immigration and Passports and UNHCR.

The database currently includes information on approximately 970,000 Rohingyas, including fingerprints of both hands and retinal scans.

How will it be used?
The primary objective of utilizing this database is to counteract the Rohingya’s attempts to acquire Bangladeshi passports, national identity cards, or birth certificates, which pose a significant security risk to Bangladesh.

In this regard, an official said: “We want to prevent this (forged documents) and for this we need the Rohingya database. Because the UNHCR update it daily.”

The database is housed on a server in Geneva. “Now we have to find out how it is possible to make the database work with our system.”

Additionally, the official emphasized that repatriation remains the ultimate solution to the Rohingya crisis.

However, until repatriation can be effectively realized, the government is committed to closing all avenues for Rohingyas to obtain identity documents within Bangladesh as a precautionary measure, he added.

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