Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali has said the Rohingya refugees residing in Cox's Bazaar camps can become a national security threat to Bangladesh.
He made the comment during her question-answer session in the House on Wednesday, reports Bangla Tribune.
Replying to a question from ruling party MP Israfil Alam, the minister said: “20 to 25% of the total population in Cox's Bazaar is comprised of Muslims from the Rakhine province. This huge population could become a threat to national security in future.”
Even though illegal immigrants from Myanmar are known as Rohingyas, the Bangladesh government prefers to call them “the Muslim population of Rakhine province”.
In addition to his answer to Israfil Alam's question, Mahmood Ali further added: “Currently 33,000 registered and 350,000 to 400,000 unregistered Myanmar nationals are living in Cox's Bazaar and five other districts.
“Last year’s attack on the Myanmar border and subsequent military operations resulted in the oppression of the Rakhine province's Muslim population. This led to nearly 75,000 Myanmar nationals entering Bangladesh.”
Citing the societal, economic, political and environmental damage caused by the illegal immigrants, the minister said: “Bangladesh is facing lots of problems because of the Rohingya refugees. They are being involved in criminal activities and creating deterioration to law and order.
“They are putting a negative influence on political stability, societal balance, the labour market, and employment. The Rakhine population is engaged in drug trafficking, weapons and human trafficking, robbery, drug production along the border.”