RVISION November 29, 2017

The Bangladesh government must abandon all plans to relocate more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees on to an uninhabitable island, Amnesty International said on 28th November, 2017.

On Tuesday, the Bangladesh government approved a $280 million plan to develop the isolated, flood-prone and uninhabitable Thenger Char to temporarily house Rohingya refugees until they are repatriated to Myanmar.

“It would be a terrible mistake to relocate the Rohingya refugees to an uninhabitable island that is far from other refugee settlements and vulnerable to flooding,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

“Having opened its doors to more than 600,000 Rohingya over the past three months, the Bangladesh government now risks undermining the protection of the Rohingya and squandering the international goodwill it has earned. In its desperation to see the Rohingya leave the camps and ultimately return to Myanmar, it is putting their safety and well-being at risk.”

The Thenger Char, also known as Bhashan Char island, only emerged into view 11 years ago. During monsoon season, it is highly vulnerable to flooding.

The humanitarian community has warned of the dangers to the Rohingya refugees if they are relocated to what is widely considered an uninhabitable island – located two hours away from the nearest settlement, making it harder for humanitarian assistance to reach the refugees.

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