In a move to get rid of illegal Rohingya refugees, Bangladesh government has decided to send a batch of 1000 refugees to the remote island of Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal. Earlier 1600 refugees were shifted to this Island without conducting any feasibility study. This move comes even after human rights organisations repeatedly requested the government not to carry forward this proposal. “They will be moved to Chittagong first and then to Bhasan Char, depending on the high tide,” one of the officials said.
Mr Mohammed Shamsud Douza, the deputy Bangladesh government official in charge of refugees, said the relocation was voluntary. “They will not be sent against their will,” he said. The UN has said that it was not allowed to carry out a safety assessment of the Bhasan Char island and was not involved in the transfer of refugees.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen told Reuters earlier this month that the UN should first assess and verify how conducive the environment in Myanmar’s Rakhine state was for repatriating the refugees, before carrying out an assessment of Bhasan Char. Several attempts were made by the UN to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar had failed since the refugees refused to go back to the Rakhine territory.