Bangladesh Continues Controversial Resettlement of Refugees
Despite criticism, the government in Dhaka wants to bring another 1,000 refugees to Bhasan Char island. It is voluntary, Bangladesh said. But the reports suggest the other reality.
Bangladesh has continued the controversial relocation of the second group of Rohingya refugees. On Monday, buses took a large group from the Cox's Bazar to the port in Chittagong. The destination is the island of Bhasan Char, which is often exposed to cyclones and floods.
In Bangladesh, more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees are living in cramped conditions in camps after members of the Muslim minority fled neighboring Myanmar in 2017.
As part of the controversial relocation, a total of 100,000 refugees are to be brought to the island. At the beginning of December, more than 1,600 Rohingya had already been resettled to Bhasan Char. Now, according to Foreign Minister Abdul Momen, another group of almost 1,000 people will follow.
You go voluntarily, said Mr. Momen, calling the island a "beautiful vacation spot". Momen stated that the refugees really want to go to Bhasan Char because they have heard from their loved ones who are already there that it is a good place. The island is "a hundred times better" than the refugee camps in which hundreds of thousands of Rohingya live.
Violence and poverty not a vacation spot
In fact, the AFP news agency quoted two Rohingya from the now resettled group, after which they voluntarily went to the island. The indifference of the international community to this behavior is for us evidence that there is no future in the camps, said one of the refugees. He said that the Rohingya families have no choice but to resettle to the distant island since the foreign states tolerate the Bangladesh policies.
Other Rohingya had previously reported violence to media. After the first group was moved at the beginning of December, several refugees reported to the agency that they had been beaten and threatened and that they were to be persuaded to move. The human rights organization Amnesty International also called the resettlement process "questionable" based on reports of offers of money or threats.