Court upholds ban on Rohingya Bangladeshi marriage

A COURT in Bangladesh on Monday (8) upheld a government ruling ban­ning marriage between its citizens and refugees from Myanmar’s perse­cuted Rohingya minority, who have fled ethnic violence in the neighbour­ing country.  

The high court in Dhaka dismissed a legal challenge from a father whose son married a Rohingya teenager in a Muslim ceremony in September de­spite laws forbidding such unions.  

Marriages with Rohingya were banned in 2014 to try to prevent hun­dreds of thousands of refugees living in Bangladesh from seeking a back door to citizenship.  

Babul Hossain, whose 26-year-old son ran away with his new wife after they married, questioned the legality of the ruling that threatens a seven-year jail term for any Bangladeshi who weds a Rohingya refugee.  

But the court rejected his plea and ordered he pay 100,000 taka ($1,200) in legal costs.  

“The court rejected the petition and has upheld the administrative order, which bans marriage between Bangla­deshi citizens and Rohingya people,” deputy attorney general Motaher Hos­sain Saju said.  

Hossain’s request that the court protect his son from arrest was also rejected, Saju added.  

About 655,000 Rohingya have es­caped to Bangladesh since August after the Myanmar army began a campaign of rape and murder in Rakhine state.  

They joined the more than 200,000 ref­ugees already living in Bangladesh who had fled previous violence in Rakhine.