Giving Compass' Take:
- Al Jazeera discusses how Human Rights Watch is calling for an investigation after the UN shared data from over 800,000 Rohingya refugees with Bangladesh, which gave it to Myanmar, the nation they fled.
- How does this put Rohingya refugees at risk? How can informed consent be built into data collection and sharing practices?
- Learn about the systematic persecution and genocide of Rohingya people in Myanmar.
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Human Rights Watch says the UN improperly collected and shared data from more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees with their host country Bangladesh, which passed it on to Myanmar, the country they fled, and is calling for an investigation.
Over the past three years, the UN refugee agency has registered hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladeshi camps, enabling Dhaka to provide them with identity cards needed to access essential aid and services.
But according to a new HRW report, the refugees were generally not made aware that the data they were providing would also be used by the Bangladeshi government to submit details about them to authorities in neighbouring Myanmar, with a view to possible repatriation.
“The UN refugee agency’s data collection practices with Rohingya in Bangladesh were contrary to the agency’s own policies and exposed refugees to further risk,” Lama Fakih, HRW’s crisis and conflict director, said in a statement.
The UNHCR refuted this, with spokesman Andrej Mahecic telling AFP news agency that the refugee agency has “clear policies in place to ensure the safeguarding of the data we collect when registering refugees all over the world”.
The HRW, however, said the refugees often likely did not understand that the data being collected, including photographs, fingerprints, and biographic data, could be shared with Myanmar.
This, the report said, was particularly concerning in the case of the approximately 880,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, many of whom fled a 2017 crackdown in Myanmar that UN investigators say amounted to genocide.
Read the full article about the UN sharing Rohingya data with Bangladesh at Al Jazeera.