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The Hindu Explains | Why are human rights agencies concerned about Bangladesh relocating Rohingya refugees?

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The story thus far: On December 10, agencies reported {that a} United Nations (UN) human rights investigator had requested Bangladesh to permit a security evaluation of the distant islet of Bhashan Char, the place the federal government had shipped 1,600-odd Rohingya refugees. Reuters reported that the UN mentioned it was not concerned within the switch of the refugees there. Thomas Andrews, the UN human rights investigator for Myanmar, instructed the information company that the evaluation and verification course of to make sure that the refugees weren’t compelled to go have been within the “best interest of all”. Other human rights agencies have additionally criticised the transfer.

Is the islet secure?

Bhashan Char is a char-land of round 13,000 acres, shaped by the buildup of silt the place the river Meghna meets the Bay of Bengal carrying wealthy alluvial deposits. Char-lands are a typical function in Meghna and Padma rivers and actually imply “shifting landmass”. As the title reveals, the char was not a part of the everlasting land function of Bangladesh, however appeared just lately. Bhashan Char is surrounded by a mangrove forest that has given it geographical stability. Sensing a tourism alternative, the Bangladesh authorities had declared Bhashan Char as a protected forest land in 2013. It is a two-and-a-half-hours boat trip away from Cox’s Bazar in Chittagong. The most important argument for the char-land being unsafe is that these lands are identified to be unstable and flood-prone. The different worry issue consists of the tropical cyclones that go to the realm yearly.

Also learn | Rohingya can’t go away Bhashan Char island: Bangladesh officers

What is the association for the Rohingya?

Over the previous few years, Bangladesh has constructed roads and introduced trendy telecommunication networks to Bhashan Char. The Bangladesh authorities has earmarked round 1,350 acres for the Rohingya refugees, of which 432 acres is devoted to their rehabilitation and the remainder stays for future initiatives. The authorities has constructed a lot of housing models within the part designated for the Rohingya. The nation despatched 1,642 Rohingya refugees to the islet from their non permanent camps in Kutupalong, close to Cox’s Bazar, on December 4. They are being housed in red-roofed residential models and most homes are constructed 4 toes above the bottom to assist them stand up to sudden excessive tidal waves.

Why is Bangladesh shifting the refugees?

Rohingya refugees of Kutupalong have been residing in a big refugee camp close to the forested borders with Myanmar since 2017, after they have been compelled to traverse the forest and the rivers that represent the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar’s Rakhine province. Ever since their arrival, the refugees, numbering 1.1 million, have been residing in Kutupalong beneath bamboo and tarpaulin constructions. The camp is situated on a hillock, which was a sanctuary for elephants and different wild animals. Kutupalong has additionally been within the information for its rising crime price. Bangladesh argues that the islet will present a safer place.

Why are human rights agencies upset?

Amnesty International mentioned Bangladesh should “drop” its plans to shift Rohingya refugees to Bhashan Char because the char-land had not but been declared secure for habitation by the United Nations.

Also learn | No nation for Rohingya folks

Omar Waraich of Amnesty International claimed that many Rohingya who have been requested to relocate mentioned they have been coerced. “Any decisions relating to the relocation of refugees must be transparent and involve the full participation of the Rohingya people. In the meantime, plans for any further relocation must be abandoned,” Mr. Waraich mentioned.

What occurs subsequent?

Diplomatic sources have confirmed that Dhaka doesn’t plan to relocate all the refugee settlement and solely goals at decreasing the congestion in Kutupalong. The nation’s long-term plan for Rohingya refugees is to hunt their repatriation to the Rakhine province of Myanmar.

This story is accessible solely to The Hindu subscribers solely.

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