Bangladesh risks creating a “new crisis” for Rohingya refugees if it goes ahead next month with plans to relocate 23,000 refugees to an uninhabited island prone to cyclones, a United Nations human rights envoy has warned.
Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on Myanmar who visited Bhasan Char recently, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday that she was unsure if the Bay of Bengal island was “truly habitable”.
She also warned “ill-planned” relocations without the consent of refugees “have the potential to create a new crisis”.
Rohingya advocates say the refugees would effectively be trapped on Bhasan Char, a muddy, low-lying island that floods frequently during monsoon season and offers few livelihood opportunities.
More than 730,000 Rohingya are confined to overcrowded camps in Bangladesh after fleeing a campaign of arson, murder and rape waged in Myanmar by the country’s military since late 2017.
Despite the objections, the Bangladeshi government hopes to eventually move 100,000 Rohingya to the island, arguing this would relieve pressure on the camps.
(Source: Al Jazeera)