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.