Saturday, February 27, 2021

Bangladesh sends third group of Rohingya refugees to island

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Nearly 1,800 refugees despatched to remoted Bhasan Char island regardless of calls by human rights teams to halt the method.

Authorities in Bangladesh have despatched a 3rd group of Rohingya refugees to a newly developed island within the Bay of Bengal regardless of calls by human rights teams for a halt to the method.

On Friday morning, 1,778 refugees began their journey to the island of Bhasan Char in 4 navy vessels from the southeastern port metropolis of Chattogram, after they have been introduced from crammed camps in Cox’s Bazar district, mentioned M Mozammel Haque, a commander of the Bangladesh navy.

He mentioned a fourth batch could be despatched to the island, positioned 34km (21 miles) from the mainland, on Saturday.

“Around 4,000 refugees have already been sent to the island since December, but we have the capacity of accommodating 100,000. The process will continue until we fulfil it,” he informed reporters.

The authorities insists the relocation plan is supposed to supply higher living situations whereas makes an attempt to repatriate multiple million refugees to Myanmar would proceed.

Haque mentioned the refugees have been being handled nicely on the island and they’d have the choice of producing earnings by rearing cattle or poultry and will additionally interact in making handicrafts.

He mentioned they needed them to contribute to the economic system, however their repatriation to Myanmar is the final word aim.

“They will be checked by our doctors when they arrive today. They will be given food and accommodation properly,” he mentioned.

Mahmud Hossain Opu 7135A navy vessel within the Bay of Bengal, carrying Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char island [File: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Al Jazeera]

Several human rights and activist teams say some refugees have been pressured to go to the island.

But the federal government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has repeatedly mentioned the refugees have been shifting voluntarily.

The island surfaced solely 20 years in the past and was not beforehand inhabited. It was recurrently submerged by monsoon rains however now has flood safety embankments, homes, hospitals and mosques constructed at a value of greater than $112m by the Bangladesh navy.

The island’s amenities are designed to accommodate 100,000 individuals, only a fraction of one million Rohingya who fled waves of violent persecution of their native Myanmar and are at the moment living in crowded, squalid refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

Authorities say the refugees have been chosen for relocation primarily based on their willingness, and that no strain was utilized.

But worldwide assist companies have opposed the relocation because it was first proposed in 2015, expressing fear {that a} massive storm may overwhelm the island and endanger 1000’s of lives.

The United Nations voiced concern that refugees are allowed to make a “free and informed decision” about whether or not to relocate. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have additionally urged the federal government to cancel the plan.

But the federal government mentioned the human rights teams and the UN ought to perceive its good intentions.

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