Bangladesh forces thousands of Rohingya to go into exile on an island

The Bangladeshi authorities have put pressure on many murmur settled in the overcrowded refugee camps in the southeast of the country to relocate to a remote island, according to the organization on Monday Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In the report “An insular prison in the middle of the sea: the relocation to Bhasan Char of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh”, HRW assures that the authorities transferred many Rohingya to this island without your full consent and now they are preventing them from abandoning it.

“The Government of Bangladesh is struggling to cope with more than a million Rohingya refugees, but forcing people to leave a remote island only creates new problems“HRW Director of Refugee and Migrant Rights Bill Frelick said in a statement accompanying the report.

Some 738,000 rushes arrived in Bangladesh after the outbreak in August 2017 of a campaign of persecution and violence by the Army of neighboring Burma, which the UN described as example of ethnic cleansing and possible genocide, crimes against humanity that are being investigated by international tribunals.

With the intention of decongesting the camps located in Cox’s Bazar, in the southeast of the country, Bangladesh announced in 2017 its intention to relocate some 100.000 rohinyás en Bhasan Char, of about 40 square kilometers and located in the Bay of Bengal.

However, the process did not begin until last December, due to international doubts about the conditions on this island, which is flooded during the monsoon season, and so far some 20,000 members of this persecuted minority.

HRW interviewed during the last year 167 Rohingya refugees, 117 of them on the island and the rest in the Cox’s Bazar camps, including a 53-year-old man who claimed he had gone into hiding to avoid being forcibly transferred to Bhasan Char.

“Even if I die, they will take my body there. I don’t want to go to that island “the man told HRW, who requested anonymity.

No job or education

The director for South Asia of HRW, Meenakshi Ganguly, explained to Efe that after several Rohingya began to hide, the Bangladeshi authorities began to confiscate electronic cards they own for assistance.

“You know that without the cards, people can’t get food or other assistance. So those people agreed to go and when they were on their way they got their cards back, “Ganguly said.

Others, the activist added, went to the island voluntarily, although they were not well informed, believing that there they would receive a salary, work or better food.

Most of the children are also not educated. Of the approximately 8,495 children in Bhasan Char, only about 1,500 attend class, as revealed by a humanitarian worker.

“We have been here for six months and my daughters brought all their belongings, bags and books, to continue studying, but there are not even learning centers,” a refugee told HRW.

Authorities deny the allegations, claiming they voluntarily transferred the Rohingya “in front of many organizations in broad daylight”, Bangladesh Refugee Aid and Repatriation Commissioner Shah Rezwan Hayat told EFE.

“If they had been forced, the UN would have opposed it,” Hayat stressed, who insisted on the high level of the facilities and the approval of international organizations.

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