Rohingya-Relocation: 1070 Rohingyas sail for Bhashanchar


Cox’s Bazar, Mar 03: As part of the government plan to relocate Rohingyas to Bhashanchar in Noakhali from Cox’s Bazar, some 1,070 Rohingyas are being taken to the island on Wednesday.

Six ships of Bangladesh Navy carrying 1070 Rohingyas left the Patenga Naval jetty in the morning, said an official of Navy.

A total of 3,000 Rohingyas are scheduled to go to Bhashanchar under the fifth phase. The rest will  start their journey for the island on Thursday.

Buses carrying the first batch of Rohingyas left Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday afternoon, said Additional Refugee, Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner Md Samsuddouza Nayan.

Three Rohingyas failed to join the batch due to illness.

So far, 9,540 Rohingyas have been relocated to the island in four phases, sources at the Office of the Refugee Relief & Repatriation Commissioner said.

The fourth batch was shifted to Bhasan Char on February 15. The first batch was taken to the island on December 4 last year.

Where is Bhasan Char?

Located 34 kilometres off the mainland, the island surfaced 20 years ago and was never inhabited.

Contractors say its infrastructure is like a modern township, with multifamily concrete homes, schools, playgrounds and roads. It also has solar-power facilities, a water supply system and cyclone shelters.

The island has all the modern amenities and a police station has been set up there recently.

Bangladesh spent millions of dollars to develop Bhasan Char and plans to relocate 100,000 Rohingyas there in phases in the face of growing concerns over the extreme congestion in Cox’s Bazar camps and to avert any risk of death due to landslides and other unwarranted incidents.

Who are the Rohingyas?

The Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

Members of the mainly Muslim majority ethnic minority are denied citizenship by Myanmar and many are forced to live in squalid camps in apartheid-like condition. State-sponsored discrimination against the Rohingyas stretches decades back.

Rohingya crisis and Bangladesh

Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, is currently hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas. The majority of them came here in August 2017, fleeing persecution in their homeland of Rakhine State in Myanmar.

Bangladesh has long been urging the global community to take effective steps to put pressure on Myanmar to create a congenial atmosphere for Rohingya repatriation but there has been little progress so far.

The presence of the huge number of Rohingyas in the coastal district has put them on a collision course with the locals. Many Rohingyas have got involved in various criminal activities.