Bhasan Char is the island ready to house 100,000 Rohingya refugees, while no exact date has been announced for the relocation of the refugees from their current camps, officials said on Thursday. They also said that Flood protection embankments, houses, hospitals, and mosques have been built on the island, Presstv Reported.
“Bhasan Char is ready for habitation. Everything has been put in place,” Bangladesh refugee, relief and repatriation commissioner, Mahbub Alam Talukder, told The Associated Press.
International agencies and the United Nations have strongly opposed the relocation plan, fearing that a big storm could put the lives of thousands in danger.
Mostofa Mohamamd Sazzad Hossain, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Bangladesh, said on Thursday that the agency isn’t ready to endorse the relocation and is waiting for an opportunity to visit the island.
“The UN has emphasized the importance of undertaking independent and thorough technical and protection assessments that consider safety, sustainability, and protection issues prior to any relocation taking place. The assessment process should include onsite visits to Bhasan Char,” Hossain said.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has repeatedly said that her administration will consult the UN and other international partners before making a final decision on the relocation. She has also promised that no refugees will be forced to move.
Bangladesh attempted to start sending refugees back to Myanmar under a bilateral framework last November, but the refugees were not willing to go. They refused to return to Myanmar unless they were recognized as an ethnic group with full rights and safety in their home country.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed, injured, arbitrarily arrested, or raped by Myanmarese soldiers and Buddhist mobs between November 2016 and August 2017.
100,000 is only a fraction of the more than 750,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled their native Myanmar to escape the ongoing military crackdown since November 2016.