About 1,000 Rohingya refugees will be displaced to a remote, cyclone-prone island despite calls by rights groups to stop the resettlement.
Bangladesh is set to move a second batch of Rohingya refugees to the remote island of Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal this month, officials say, despite calls from human rights groups to do not make any other trips.
Around 1,000 Rohingya refugees, members of a Muslim minority who fled neighboring Myanmar to escape violence, will be moved to the flood-prone island in the coming days after Bangladesh displaced more than 1,600 earlier this month- Ci, two officials with direct knowledge of the matter said Sunday.
“They will be transferred first to Chittagong, then to Bhasan Char, depending on the high tide,” one of the officials said.
Officials declined to be named because the matter had not been made public.
Mohammed Shamsud Douza, the Bangladesh government’s deputy refugee official, said the resettlement was voluntary.
“They will not be sent against their will.”
The UN said it was not allowed to conduct a technical and security assessment of Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal and that it was not involved in the transfer of refugees there.
Bangladesh says it is only transferring people who are ready to leave and that the move will alleviate chronic overcrowding in Cox’s Bazar camps which are home to more than one million Rohingya.
But refugees and aid workers say some Rohingya have been forced to travel to the island, which emerged from the sea just 20 years ago.
Several attempts to repatriate the Rohingya to Myanmar failed after refugees said they feared too much more violence to return.