Cabinet okays Rohingya strategyStaff Correspondent
The cabinet on Monday endorsed a national strategy for dealing with the issues of refugees and citizens from Myanmar living illegally in Bangladesh, proposing listing of the ‘undocumented Rohingyas’.
The foreign ministry placed the document at the weekly cabinet meeting with the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, in the chair at the secretariat to address the Rohingya refugee issue in a coordinated manner as an increasing number of undocumented citizens from the neighbouring country was posing a threat to ‘national security.’
‘There are around 25,000 Rohingya refugees living in two camps located in Cox’s Bazar. But the number of undocumented Myanmar citizens living illegally would be three to five lakh, causing socio-economic and environmental problems here. They are also a threat to our national security,’ cabinet secretary Mohammad Musharraf Hossain told a press briefing after the meeting.
He said a survey would be conducted under the strategy to prepare a list of Myanmar citizens who had crossed into Bangladesh and were staying illegally here.
‘A national coordination committee would be formed with the foreign minister as its chief. In addition, taskforces would be formed at the district and upazila levels, to be led by the deputy commissioners and the upazila nirbahi officers concerned,’ the cabinet secretary added.
The cabinet also decided to strengthen vigilance along the border with Myanmar and expedite the government efforts through diplomatic channel to stop influx of Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in their homeland.
The government, however, would continue its support to the Rohigya refugees living in the camps on humanitarian ground, Musharraf said.
The cabinet also gave the final approval to the draft of the Safe Food Bill, 2013 that proposed setting up of a statutory institution to ensure safety standards of food items at all stages from productions to marketing.
The proposed safe food authority under the
food ministry would coordinate drives against food adulterations and therefore ensure safe food for the public.
The move came against the backdrop of the authorities’ failure to check widespread adulterations in food items that posed a threat to public heath.
The new law would replace the old and outdated ‘Pure Food Ordinance, 1959.’
An advisory committee headed by the food minister would give policy directives to the authority while a technical committee would provide technical support for their operations.
The draft of the Safe Food Bill proposed for highest five years rigorous imprisonment and Tk five lakh in penalty for offences relating to food adulteration.
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