Foreigners Act and the Freedom of Movement of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh

Ashraful Azad


There are an estimated 200,000-500,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Most of these refugees are living without any official recognition. Bangladesh has not signed the UN Refugee Convention neither has it any domestic refugee regime. The Rohingya people are usually considered ‘illegal foreigner’ under the Foreigners Act 1946. Consequently, they face various restrictions in Bangladesh. This article discusses the restriction on freedom of movement of the Rohingyas within the country and internationally. Based on the legal analysis and empirical findings, this article shows that the Rohingyas in Bangladesh live in fear of arrest and detention which deter their daily movement outside designated camps. However, despite obstacles, many Rohingyas manage to bypass the system using various informal and inconsistent ways.

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