A total of 1642 Rohingyas have started from Cox’s Bazar to Bhasan Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal. But some humanitarian organizations and refugees claim that the refugees were forced to leave the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.
The South Asian Country states that it is only moving refugees who are willing to go, and this will ease the overcrowding in camps that are home to over a million Rohingya refugees. But refugees and humanitarian workers say some of the Rohingya had been coerced into going to Bhashan Char, a flood-prone island that emerged from the sea 20 years ago.
A naval official said the Rohingya were aboard seven boats, with two more carrying supplies, that set out from the southern port of Chittagong. Refugees were packed across the decks of the naval vessels on plastic chairs. Some brought umbrellas to shelter from the sun on a journey that takes several hours.
“The government is not taking anyone to Bhashan Char forcibly. We maintain this position,”
Foreign Minister Abdul Momen told reporters late on Thursday
An 18-year-old woman said her husband had put their names on the list thinking it was for food rations. He fled when they were told to go to Bhasan Char, she said, adding that she is also hiding in the camp.
The partner were among more than 730,000 Rohingya who fled Myanmar in 2017 following a military-led crackdown that the United Nations said was executed with genocidal intent. Myanmar denies genocide and says its forces were targeting Rohingya militants who attacked police posts.
The Navy has prepared the BDT 3,100 crore housing project, funded with public money They had built more than a thousand cinderblock housing units on Bhasan for the Rohingya refugees. But The United Nations said in a statement it had been given “limited information” about the relocations and was not involved in preparations.
UN and rights groups have been questioning the idea of relocation to Bhasan Char, saying it is a low-lying isolated island and has risks of flooding, but at a point, last year agreed to send a technical team to assess the condition and requested the government to allow the visit before relocation.
The international community needs to stop focusing on temporary fixes and start looking for a way to help the Rohingya refugees return home to Myanmar safely. If it fails to do so, there will be no end to the suffering of the Rohingya population.