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  • Last Update : 03:24 pm

Fifth phase of relocation: 2,257 Rohingyas leave for Bhashan Char

  • Published at 12:46 pm March 3rd, 2021
Rohingya Bhashan Char relocation
File photo: Bangladesh Navy personnel help a disabled Rohingya refugee child to get off from a navy vessel as they arrive at the Bhashan Char island in Noakhali, Bangladesh, December 29, 2020 Reuters

So far, around 14,000 Rohingyas have been relocated to the island in four phases

Some 2,257 Rohingyas left for Bhashan Char in Noakhali in the fifth phase of the relocation process on Wednesday morning.

Six ships of the Bangladesh Navy carrying the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals left the Chittagong Boat Club jetty, situated in the port city's Patenga area, around 10:30am, said National Security Intelligence (NSI) officials.

The Rohingyas, who have volunteered to be relocated to Bhashan Char developed by the Bangladesh Navy at a cost of Tk3,100 crore, were brought to Chittagong from Ukhiya in Cox's Bazar on Tuesday.

At night, they stayed at a transit camp set up on the premises of BAF Shaheen College in Patenga.

Buoyed by the success of the previous relocation, the government is continuing its effort to move some 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char in phases to provide them with a better living place.

So far, around 14,000 Rohingyas have been relocated to the island in four phases, sources at the Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner said.

The fourth batch was shifted to Bhashan Char on February 15. The first batch was moved on December 4 last year.

The government has dismissed safety concerns over the island, citing the building of flood defences and other infrastructures.

It also says overcrowding in refugee camps fuels crime.

Located 34km from the mainland, Bhashan Char island under Hatiya upazila of Noakhali surfaced 20 years ago and was never inhabited.

Contractors say its infrastructure is like a modern township, with multi-family concrete homes, schools, playgrounds, and roads. It also has solar power facilities, a water supply system, and cyclone shelters.

Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in numerous refugee camps in Cox's Bazar. 

Most of them entered Bangladesh since August 25, 2017, amid a military crackdown on Rohingyas in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, which the UN called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" and other rights groups dubbed as "genocide."

Bangladesh on multiple occasions has called on Myanmar to move forward the stalled process of voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees.

Although international pressure is mounting on the military leaders following the recent coup in Myanmar, the development is reducing the Rohingyas’ hopes of returning home.

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