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Amnesty urges Bangladesh to halt relocation of Rohingya to remote island Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Amnesty urges Bangladesh to halt relocation of Rohingya to remote island

Bangladesh is looking to relocate 100,000 Rohingya to Bhashan Char [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 December, 2020

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Bangladesh began the transfer on Thursday amid sustained criticism from human rights groups.

Amnesty International has urged Bangladesh to halt the relocation of thousands of Rohingya refugees to Bhashan Char, a remote island in the Bay of Bengal.

Bangladesh began the transfer on Thursday amid sustained criticism from human rights groups.

"The authorities should immediately halt relocation of more refugees to Bhashan Char, return those on the island to their families and community in mainland Bangladesh," Saad Hammadi, Amnesty International's South Asia Campaigner, said in a statement.

"The relocation of so many Rohingya refugees to a remote island, which is still off limits to everyone including rights groups and journalists without prior permission, poses grave concerns about independent human rights monitoring."

Bhashan Char, a flood-prone island formed by Himalayan silt in 2006, has been designated by Bangladesh as the new home for 100,000 Rohingya refugees.

On Wednesday, the UN in Bangladesh highlighted that it had not been consulted or involved in the relocation process. The international body issued a statement stressing that "Rohingya refugees must be able to make a free and informed decision about relocating to Bhasan Char based upon relevant, accurate, and updated information".

Emerging reports from Bangladesh allege that some refugees have been forced to relocate to the island by authorities. Som who had been registered as willing to relocate went into hiding on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Some 730,000 Rohingya fled their homes in Myanmar in 2017 after a military-led crackdown that the United Nations said was carried out with genocidal intent. Myanmar has denied persecuting the Rohingya, claiming it was cracking down on militant groups in Rakhine State.

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