01/09/2018, 09.29
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The Dhaka high court bans marriages with Rohingya

Unions between refugees are also prohibited. The aim is to avoid fastrack for citizenship. The penalty for those who break the law is imprisonment for up to seven years. 655 thousand refugees have fled from Myanmar.

Dhaka (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Bangladesh court confirms a government rule prohibiting marriage between Bengali citizens and Rohingya Muslim refugees from neighboring Myanmar, who have fled ethnic violence.

The judges thus support a law passed in 2014 that prohibits unions between citizens and refugees, and among refugees themselves. The goal is to prevent thousands of displaced Rohingya living in the country from getting citizenship.

The Dhaka High Court rejected the appeal presented by Babul Hossain, a Bengali citizen whose 27-year-old son married an 18-year-old Rohingya girl in September 2017. The case has become known as the first union of the recent wave of migration. After the wedding, the young couple disappeared in an attempt to escape the sentence of seven years of imprisonment foreseen for the Bengal citizens who break the law by marrying a refugee.

Motaher Hossain Saju, deputy attorney general, said that the court rejected the request for acquittal and ordered the father to pay a fine of 100 thousand taka (about 1000 euros) for legal fees. The son, once traced, will end up behind bars.

Since last August, that is, since the violence between the Burmese army and the militants of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) took place, about 655 thousand refugees have fled from Myanmar. Added to these are another 200 thousand displaced in the past years from the State of Rakhine.

According to groups of activists, there are numerous cases of arranged marriages to escape the poor conditions of the camps in the southern part of the country. In the specific case, Hossain rejects the accusations and states that the young couples marriage is a true bond of love and is not motivated by issues of citizenship.

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