More than half a million Rohingya refugees living in makeshift camps in Bangladesh have been issued identity documents, a UN agency said Friday.
To date, “more than 500,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have been jointly registered by the Bangladesh authorities and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency”, the UNHCR said in a statement.
Those registered, mostly for the first time, now have proof of their identity -- a secure identity card, it added.
“The biometric, fraud-proof cards are being issued jointly by Bangladeshi authorities and UNHCR to all verified refugees over the age of 12.”
The accurate data will help agencies in their program planning, particularly for those with specific needs such as women, children and people with disabilities, the statement said.
“The new registration cards indicate that Myanmar is the country of origin, a critical element in establishing and safeguarding the right of Rohingya refugees to return to their homes in Myanmar,” it said.
The fraud-proof identification can be used by humanitarian partners to ensure there is no overlap in assistance and nobody is left out, the statement added.
An estimated 900,000 Rohingya refugees live in crowded settlements in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, with over 740,000 thought to have fled from Myanmar since August 2017, it said, although according to Bangladesh government statistics, the country is now hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingya refugees.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.