Rohingya Muslim Refugees Can No Longer Wed In Bangladesh Under New Marriage Ban: Report

SHAMALAPUR, BANGLADESH - APRIL 11: Rajama sits in the doorway of her home in the Shamalapur Rohingya refugee settlement on Ap
SHAMALAPUR, BANGLADESH - APRIL 11: Rajama sits in the doorway of her home in the Shamalapur Rohingya refugee settlement on April 11, 2014 in Chittagong district, Bangladesh. She fled to Bangladesh 5 months ago from the Dhuachopara village in the Rachidhong district of Myanmar. The Chakma people came on a Friday during prayer time in a giant mob and started burning houses and burning people alive. They beat her father and brother, and then they opened fired and started shooting and killing people at random. A group of people fled to the mosque and the Chakma followed, opening fire inside. Her father fled to the ocean and escaped to Bangladesh by boat. Rajama came to Bangladesh 3 days after the riot to find her father. When she arrived in the port of Teknaf the dock workers held her captive for 3 days with no food or water. They beat her and abused her before letting her go. She has 7 siblings back in Myanmar who were not able to escape. 'I miss my family, but how can I miss them? I want to live.' she says. Last week Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on Human Rights, said that recent developments in Myanmar's Rakhine state were the latest in a 'long history of discrimination and persecution against the Rohingya Muslim community which could amount to crimes against humanity', and that the Myanmar government's decision not to allow Rohingya Muslims to register their ethnicity in the March census meant that the population tally was not in accordance with international standards. Over the years hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have taken refuge in Bangladesh to escape the deadly sectarian violence in Myanmar. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

Bangladesh law minister Syed Anisul Haque announced on Thursday that the country would cease officiating marriages for Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority group that has been displaced from Myanmar due to persecution.

The marriage ban affects Rohingyas attempting to wed one another and those seeking unions with Bangladeshi nationals, the Malaysian Insider reports. Haque claimed that Rohingyas seek marriages in order to obtain Bangladeshi passports and even citizenship for those marrying country nationals, which the ban would prevent.

Marriage registrars face disciplinary action if they fail to comply, law ministry spokesman Abdullah Al Shahin said.

Lifestyle restrictions are nothing new for Rohingya Muslims, who the U.N. considers to be among the most persecuted minority groups in the world. Rohingyas are denied citizenship in Myanmar, and more than 100,000 have fled their homes in recent years to escape brutal attacks -- often carried out by Buddhist extremists in the country.

Because they lack citizenship in Myanmar, Rohingyas are unable to move, marry or find jobs without permission from the government. Despite the restrictions on marriage, Rohingya couples are only allowed to live together if they are married and then are subject to a strict two-child policy. Bearing children out of wedlock is prohibited.

There are roughly 300,000 Rohingyas living in Bangladesh, though the country recognizes only about 30,000 who are eligible for food, housing and other basic aid provided by the U.N. Other Rohingya refugees are dispersed in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

"They live under open sky, with no support from the United Nations or the Bangladeshi government," human rights activist and Rohingya refugee Nijam Mohammed told Al Jazeera. "People are dying every day, there is a lack of food, treatment and education. You can't imagine how life is."

Although the Rohingya say they originally come from western Myanmar, Buddhist extremists say they immigrated illegally from Bangladesh in the 1800s with British imperial troops. Bangladesh border guards regularly intercept Rohingyas attempting to cross the Myanmar border, though on either side Rohingyas risk discrimination, poor living conditions and even human trafficking.



Rohingya Muslims