Bangladesh on Monday began moving a 2nd group of Rohingya refugees to a controversial flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal in spite of opposition from rights activists.
More than 1,600 of the Muslim minority from Myanmar were taken to Bhashan Char previously this month, and Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen said simply under 1,000 were in the latest batch heading for what he called a “gorgeous resort”.
Buses took the Rohingya from camps in Cox’s Bazar, where almost one million refugees are packed, to Chittagong port where they will be taken to the barren island.
” They are going willingly. They are extremely excited to go Bhashan Char since they have actually spoken with their relatives, those who have actually gone to Bhashan Char, that (it) is an outstanding place,” Momen informed AFP.
He declared the island was “100 times better” than the camps, and that the refugees had “appealed” to be taken there.
” Bhashan Char is a lovely resort. It is an excellent resort. And when any person goes there, they will enjoy it,” the minister added.
2 Rohingya males in the current group told AFP they were going to the island voluntarily.
Nur Kamal, a Rohingya from the huge Kutupalang refugee camp, stated he was going to be with relatives already at Bhashan Char: “What is the point of staying here (in the camps) without them?”
There are almost one million Rohingya refugees in jam-packed camps in Bangladesh AFP/ Dibyangshu SARKAR
Serajul Islam said he was choosing five relative and was not being forced.
” The method the global community is handling our issue, I don’t see any future in the camps,” he told AFP from the bus taking him to Chittagong.
” It is much better I go and live the rest of my life there in better real estate. A minimum of I won’t have to think about floods throughout the rainy season and unbearable heat in the summer.”
More than 700,000 Rohingya packed the camps in Bangladesh in 2017 after a fatal Myanmar military clampdown that the United Nations has stated could be genocide.
After the first transfer on December 4, a number of Rohingya informed AFP that they were beaten and daunted to accept move.
The Bangladesh federal government ultimately wishes to put 100,000 Rohingya on the 13,000-acre (56 square-kilometre) island, in spite of criticism from rights groups since Bhashan Char is so isolated.
The UN said it has actually not been associated with the procedure.
” Accusations from within the community about money rewards being offered to Rohingya households to move to Bhashan Char in addition to use of intimidation strategies are making the relocation procedure questionable,” stated Amnesty International’s South Asia campaigner Saad Hammadi.
Foreign minister Momen said critics of the policy were “making up stories”.