Officials said on Sunday that Bangladesh plans to move a second group of Rohingya refugees from neighboring Myanmar to the remote island of Basancher in the Bay of Bengal.
Approximately 1,000 Rohingya refugees, members of a minority of Islam who fled Myanmar, were directly aware of the issue when Bangladesh moved to the island within days after moving more than 1,600 people earlier this month. Two officials said.
“They will be moved first to Chittagong and then to Bassin Char in response to high tide,” said one of the officials. Officials were not named because the issue was not publicized.
Mohammed Shamsud Dousa, Deputy Refugee Officer of the Bangladesh Government, said the move was voluntary. “They will not be sent against their will.”
The United Nations said it was not allowed to carry out technical and safety assessments of Basan Cha, a flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal, and was not involved in the transfer of refugees to it. ..
Bangladesh says it is migrating only those who are willing to go, which will alleviate chronic overcrowding in camps with more than one million Rohingya.
However, refugees and humanitarian workers say some of the Rohingya were forced to go to an island that emerged from the sea 20 years ago.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen told Reuters earlier this month that the United Nations would first assess how the environment in Rakhine State, Myanmar, has contributed to the repatriation of refugees before conducting an assessment of Basan Char. He said it should be verified.
Several attempts to initiate the Rohingya repatriation to Myanmar failed after refugees stated they were too afraid to return home for further violence.