Bangladesh; Rohingya refugees were moved

UMMATIMES - More than 3,000-4,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees are relocated to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal, by the Bangladeshi government over the next two days.

Naval Commodore Rashed Sattar said Rohingya refugees will be transferred to Bhasan Char by boat on Monday and Tuesday.

Refugees have been moved from border camps in neighboring Buddhist-majority Myanmar. There, more than a million refugees live in dilapidated huts on the slopes of a destroyed hill.

Bangladesh claims that the relocation of minority groups fleeing violence in Myanmar was done voluntarily. However, some of the refugees who were displaced admitted that they had been forced.

"The process of displacing the Rohingya will continue ... they are going there happily for a better life," "Our top priority is to return them to their homeland in a dignified and sustainable manner," said Mohammad Shamsud Douza, deputy official of the Bangladesh government.

Relocation continues despite concerns about the risk of storms and flooding hitting the site. Currently, Dhaka has relocated around 7,000 people to Bhasan Char island since early December. said two local officials, Sunday (14/2).

After the refugees were transferred to Bhasan Char, they were not allowed to leave the island. The island is a few hours' drive from the southern port of Chittagong.

The government has dismissed security concerns on the island. They say they have built flood defenses as well as housing for 100,000 people, a hospital and a cyclone monitoring center.

Bangladesh has drawn criticism for being reluctant to consult with the United Nations refugee agency and other aid agencies on the displacement.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the agency has not been allowed to evaluate the safety and sustainability of the lives of refugees on the island.

Bangladesh has been trying to ask Myanmar to continue the process of voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees that had stalled. However, hopes of returning these refugees were reduced, due to the military leaders' coup against the country's leader.

"I do not see a future for us," "The little hope that has emerged of returning to our homeland has been shattered by the coup." said the 42 year old refugee.