• Sunday, May 29, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Rohingya island relocation uncertain after UN doubts

  • Published at 12:18 am November 4th, 2019
File Photo of Rohingyas migrating to different camps all over Cox Bazar BIGSTOCK

Authorities have said thousands of Rohingya families have volunteered to relocate, with some 3,500 of the Muslim minority due to be moved between mid-November to February during calm seas

Bangladesh said plans to relocate thousands of Rohingya living in overcrowded refugee camps to Bhashan Char were "uncertain" yesterday, after authorities failed to gain support from UN agencies.

Dhaka had wanted to begin its long-held plan this month to move 100,000 people to the mud-silt island, as frustration grows with the presence of the squalid tent settlements.

Authorities have said thousands of Rohingya families have volunteered to relocate, with some 3,500 of the Muslim minority due to be moved between mid-November to February during calm seas.

But the plan was in doubt as the UN has not supported the relocation so far, Disaster Management and Relief Minister Md Enamur Rahman told AFP.

"This has become uncertain," Rahman said of the relocation to the island, which takes around three hours to reach by boat.

"They (UN agencies) still haven't agreed to the relocation plan."

File Photo: The photo, collected from project official Atikul Islam’s Facebook page, shows houses built under a project to accommodate Rohingya refugees in Bhashan Char, Noakhali, Bangladesh | Collected

Aid agencies including the UN refugee agency UNHCR, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the World Food Program (WFP), which held meetings with the government, told him the island was "isolated" and "flood-prone."

The agencies set out a list of conditions that had to be met, including a regular shipping service between the islet in the Bay of Bengal and the mainland, Rahman added.

The organizations provide humanitarian aid to the nearly one million Rohingya in the vast camps, including 740,000 who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar in August 2017.

UNHCR spokesman Louise Donovan told AFP Sunday his agency offered "to engage constructively" with Bangladesh but said the relocation had to be "voluntary".

"To evaluate the safety and sustainability of life on Bhashan Char, the UN has also emphasized that it will be essential to undertake independent and thorough technical assessments before relocations take place," Donovan said in an email.

She added that the assessments would look at the risks of natural disasters, adequate water supply and access to basic services - such as health and education - and "their ability to move within Bhashan Char and to and from the mainland."

Dhaka is due to hold another round of talks with the agencies on Wednesday, Rahman said, adding that "we won't do anything forcefully."

Global activist group Fortify Rights said last month it interviewed 14 Rohingya at three camps, including some who appeared on lists of refugees allegedly willing to go, and found none had been consulted "and all opposed it."

Other groups have also expressed misgivings about moving people to the island, which is regularly hit by devastating cyclones.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail