By Sheikh Shahariar Zaman

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque has briefed foreign diplomats and representatives of UN and other international organisations about undocumented Myanmar nationals residing in Bangladesh.

“I briefed them about a project on undocumented Myanmar nationals and census,” the foreign secretary told the Dhaka Tribune.

The government with its own fund has taken the initiative to conduct a census on them to get a clear picture of how many undocumented Myanmar nationals are living in the country.

“We expect to get the final report by this year,” he said.

He said Bangladesh wants them to go back to Myanmar and Dhaka is engaged with Myanmar government in this regard.

“But, we don’t have any intention to force them to go back to Myanmar,” he added.

With limited resources, Bangladesh is trying to meet the basic needs of the Myanmar nationals but the government wants them to go back, the foreign secretary said.

The census will be conducted in Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban, Patuakhali, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Khagrachari and Chittagong.

The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics completed its field test in November and going to start zonal operation by this month.

It will conduct household survey and final survey in March.

The International organisation on Migration at the briefing made a presentation on a project on water, sanitation and non-formal education that it conducts in Cox’s Bazar.

About half a million undocumented Myanmar nationals are residing in Bangladesh causing serious threat to the country’s economy, environment and security.

Bangladesh is actively engaged with Myanmar to send back to their country.

In the briefing, the foreign secretary also discussed about the Global Forum on Migration and Development to be held in December in Dhaka.