The Bangladesh government wants to send about 100,000 Rohingya refugees to a muddy, uninhabited island — “formed only in the last 20 years by silt from Bangladesh’s Meghna River” — in the Bay of Bengal.
Nearly 700,000 Rohingyas have sought refuge in Bangladesh after fleeing Myanmar following a military crackdown in August 2017.
The use of Bhashan Char Island, however, is being questioned by Human Rights Watch (HRW), which is urging the country to reconsider the move, because six other “feasible relocation sites” have been identified, they say in a report.
Most Rohingya are refusing to leave Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar refugee camp.
HRW, in a 68-page report, said the island is not suitable for human life and could become completely submerged in the event of a strong cyclone during a high tide.
The islet is about 30 kilometers from the mainland. The New York-based organization said the lack of assurance of freedom of movement to and from Bhasan Char and its isolation “would essentially turn the island into a detention center.” (VOA)