Officials said on Thursday that Bangladeshi authorities had begun relocating thousands of Rohingya refugees to a single island, despite calls from human rights groups to stop the process.
Police escorted the refugees to the port of Chittagong in 11 buses from Ukhia in Paper Bazaar and then escorted them to Bhasan Char, which had emerged from the sea 20 years ago.
Ismail Wolf, regional director of Fortify Rights, said: “Bangladesh must stop this process of rapid change.
“Not a single refugee should be deported until all human rights and humanitarian concerns have been addressed and genuine informed consent has been assured.”
Human Rights Watch said it had interviewed 12 families whose names were on the lists, but did not allow them to go voluntarily, while Refugee International said the move “violates the international human rights of the Rohingya people.” It is nothing less than a dangerous mass detention in violation of the UN’s obligations. ” .
The two aid workers, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the refugees were under pressure from government officials who offered them threats and cash offers to persuade them to return to the island. Used illusions.
Bangladesh says Bhasan Char – a Bay of Bengal, a few hours by boat from the mainland – will ease the horrific crowds at its camps at Cox’s Bazar, where more than a million Rohingya, Muslims have fled to neighboring countries. Are minority members. Myanmar
Humanitarian and human rights groups say the island is flood-prone and often prone to cyclones, while the government has not allowed the United Nations to conduct a security assessment.
Saad Hammadi, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaign official, said in a statement: “Authorities should immediately stop transferring more refugees to Bhasan Char.”
“The relocation of many Rohingya refugees to a remote island, which is still restricted to everyone, raises serious concerns about the independent monitoring of human rights without the consent of rights groups and journalists,” he said.
A senior local official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters in a message that “many families” had left the camps on Wednesday night, but did not say anything. Refused.
According to the United Nations, the executions were carried out with intent to commit genocide, with the United Nations saying more than 730,000 Rohingya had fled Myanmar in 2017. Myanmar has denied committing genocide, saying its forces were targeting Rohingya rebels who attacked police posts.
Hundreds of refugees known to be ready to go to the island were taken to a transit center on Wednesday, with some receiving incentives, including cash payments, according to a briefing by Reuters, an international humanitarian organization. .
Mohammad Shamsud Duja, the Bangladesh government’s in-charge of refugees, said accommodation had been set up for 100,000 people and the authorities wanted to relocate them during the dry season from November to April when the sea is calm.
“We will not force anyone to go there,” he said by phone, but did not comment on whether incentives were given.
The United Nations said in a statement that it had been given “limited information” about the locations and was not involved in the preparations.
Louis Donovan, a spokesman, told Reuters the government had not allowed the United Nations to conduct a technical assessment or to visit permanent refugees.
The United Nations said in a statement:[Any] Speech four should be preceded by a comprehensive assessment of technical safety. ”
Omar Farooq, a Rohingya leader on an official visit, said the island was “truly beautiful”, with better facilities than refugee camps and would be ready to go, but most people did not want to go. .
“We don’t want to live like a prison,” said Nurul Amin, a Rohingya refugee who was not included in the list.
Performed against their will
Earlier this year, more than 300 refugees were brought to the island after a boat attempt to flee Malaysia to Bangladesh failed and they remained stranded at sea for months.
He said that he was kept against his will and complained of human rights violations, some human rights groups were resorting to hunger strikes.
Many Rohingya, who did not want to be named, told Al Jazeera in October that after going on a four-day hunger strike last month, Bangladeshi navy officials beat men, women and even children with sticks. Was beaten.
In September, five rights groups Letter Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masood bin Momin requesting access to the flood-prone island.
“The Rohingya are facing a lot of difficulties and problems in the Cox’s Bazar camps and the camps are crowded and incomplete, but the people have to be taken to a single island where they have no protection or help from international humanitarian agencies or the movement. There is no freedom, “Wolf told Fortify Rights.
“It’s an island detention center right now.”