Bangladesh is currently hosting a large number of refugees belonging to the Rohingya community of Myanmar nationality. As Bangladesh is not a signatory country to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the law enforcement agencies and border defense forces are often unaware on how to deal with refugees. Moreover, many refugees alone with Bangladeshi nationals quickly fall victim to human trafficking. The incoming refugees are mainly placed into several refugee camps and are looked after by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR). About 32,000 Rohingya refugees live in two UNHCR-managed camps situated in Cox’s Bazar, although an estimated 500,000 additional undocumented refugees also reside within Bangladesh. At present the BGB is not adequately trained to properly manage the refugee crisis. To address this concern a training programme was facilitated by INCIDIN Bangladesh and commissioned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for the members of the BGB Sectors of Cox’s Bazar (22-23 November, 2015), Rangamati (2-3 December, 2015) and Bandarban (6-7 December, 2015). The programme consisted of two days’ training each where a total of 150 BGB personnel were trained on such matters as:
- Human rights: perception, definition, fundamental rights, rights in the Constitution of Bangladesh, rights in the UN Charter
- Refugee and asylum seeker: perception, definition, asylum seeker, stateless person, domestically displaced people, repatriated refugees, 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, reasons for becoming refugees, 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees
- Bangladesh and Rohingya refugee issue: present status, experiences, challenges in addressing the issue, BGB responsibilities, legal shortcomings and caution in law enforcement
- Human trafficking and human smuggling: perception, Foreigners Act 1946, distinction between trafficking and smuggling, domestic and international human trafficking, women and child trafficking, Human Trafficking Deterrence and Suppression Act 2012, trafficking and refugees
- UNHCR activities in Bangladesh; challenges and opportunities
The trainings were conducted by A.K.M. Masud Ali, Executive Director, INCIDIN Bangladesh and Advocate Md. Rafiqual Islam Khan, INCIDIN Bangladesh. Assistant Protection Officer, UNHCR Cox’s Bazar Sub-Office Mr. Istiaque Ahmed was present on behalf of the UNHCR. The Chief Guests for the three training programmes were Col. M M Anisur Rahman, Sector Commander, BGB Cox’s Bazar (Cox’s Bazar), Col. Mohammad Showkat Osman, Sector Commander, BGB Rangamati and Major Syed Jahir Uddin Mohammad Babar, BGB Bandarban. Also, as Special Guests Mr. John McKissick, Head, UNHCR Cox’s Bazar Sub-Office (Cox’s Bazar Training); Lt. Col. Sohel Uddin Pathan, Lt. Col. Md. Alauddin Al-Mamun and Lt. Col. Md. Tareque Be-Nazeer (Rangamati Training); and Mr. Tofazzal Hossain, Chairman, RIK (Bandarban).