World Bangladesh to move more Rohingya refugees to remote island
What Myanmar’s coup could mean for the Rohingya and other persecuted minorities
The takeover is terrible for Myanmar. It may be worse for the country’s most vulnerable.The aftermath of the coup is still unfolding, but human rights advocates and experts told me they are increasingly fearful of what might happen to anyone who challenges the regime.
Bangladesh will move up to 3,000 more Rohingya Muslim refugees to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal this week despite complaints by rights groups concerned about the island’s vulnerability to storms and flooding.
Bangladesh has relocated about 3,500 Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar to Bhasan Char island since early December. They were previously sheltering in border camps where a million live in ramshackle huts perched on razed hillsides.
Plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon must not be ignored
The COVID-19 pandemic made an already dire situation worse for more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon.Prior to the session, the government of Lebanon submitted a report to the UNHRC on the progress it had made in addressing the shortcomings and failures the working group identified in its previous assessment in 2015. In the 27-page report covering a variety of human rights-related issues, there was also a section dedicated to the rights of the more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees Lebanon is currently hosting.
Bhasan Char emerged from the sea only two decades ago and is several hours by boat from the nearest port at Chittagong.
The Rohingya, a minority group who fled violence in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, are not allowed to leave the island without government permission.
“Most probably, they will be taken to Chittagong tomorrow and the next day, they will be sent to Bhasan Char from there,” Navy Commodore Abdullah Al Mamun Chowdhury told Reuters news agency on Wednesday.
“Last time, we had preparations for 700 to 1,000 but finally more than 1,800 Rohingya moved there. People who moved earlier are calling their relatives and friends to go there. That’s why more people are going there.”
Bangladesh justifies the move to the island saying overcrowding in the camps in Cox’s Bazar is leading to crimes.
Bangladesh moves thousands more Rohingya to remote island
Bangladesh authorities on Friday moved more than 1,750 Rohingya Muslims to a controversial island in the Bay of Bengal despite complaints made by refugees already there. Bangladesh has struggled to cope with more than 700,000 Rohingyas who fled across the frontier in 2017 after a Myanmar military crackdown on the Muslim minority. That added to 300,000 already in the camps.With the new arrivals, some 7,000 Rohingya would be on the 13,000-acre (53-square kilometre) island.The government has said about 100,000 people could be settled on Bhashan Char from the camps.
It also dismisses concerns of floods, citing the construction of a two-metre (6.5 feet) embankment for 12km (7.5 miles) to protect the island along with housing for 100,000 people, as well as facilities such as cyclone centres and hospitals.
However, the move has attracted criticism from relief agencies that say they were not consulted on the transfers.
“The UN has previously shared terms of reference with the government for the technical and protection assessments to evaluate the safety and sustainability of life on Bhasan Char, though we have not yet been permitted to carry out these assessments,” the UN refugee agency said.
“We emphasize that all movements to Bhasan Char must be voluntary and based upon full information regarding the conditions of life on the island and the rights and services that refugees will be able to access there.”
The government says the relocation is voluntary but some refugees from the first group that went there in early December have spoken of being coerced.
Rights organisations say the government used “cash incentives” as well as “intimidation tactics” to force Rohingya to accept the relocation offer.
But in October, some Rohingya told Al Jazeera they were abused after they went on a hunger strike against what they called their forced relocation to the uninhabited island.
In May, Dhaka quarantined nearly 300 Rohingya to Bhashan Char – a muddy silt islet in the cyclone-prone coastal belt, after the refugees were rescued from a stranded boat.
What Myanmar's coup means for Aung San Suu Kyi .
The pro-democracy leader remains hugely popular at home but has lost favour on the world stage.Few people, speaking freely, would reach for labels of affection. But in 2018, a year after the world watched the horrific expulsion and mass murder of the Rohingya people - an alleged genocide - Aung San Suu Kyi opted for the phrase "rather sweet" to describe the generals in her cabinet.