Sunday, March 29, 2020 | ePaper

Govt incapable of deciding how to deal with Rohingya crises

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NEWSPAPERS reported that the government is shifting its previous stance on sheltering one lakh Rohingyas to remote Bhashan Char due to constant objections from the international community, especially the aid agencies. Bhashan Char is only 25 kilometres from Sandwip Island and it has a fast siltation rate. There is also a big possibility Sandwip Island and Bhashan Char will get connected in the near future. But the rights groups and different local and international NGOs from the very beginning have been opposing the decision saying that it would be too risky to house refugees on the island. Their point of view was that - thousands of locals have died in the coastal areas from natural disasters in the last five decades, so the lives of refugees will be endangered if they are shifted there. The Ministry concerned with the help of the armed forces has built 120 cluster villages on the 40 sqkm island under a Tk 2,312 crore project for accommodating one lakh Rohingyas now staying in Cox's Bazar camps.
Though the authorities have also built a three-metre high embankment around the island to keep out tidal surges during cyclone, the Rohingya refugees feel insecure fearing that their shelters would be wiped out by any strong blow from a cyclone. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen after visiting the island recently hinted that government may quit the plan. Not only that, the government is also apprehending non-cooperation from the international aid agencies for which it would face difficulties in arranging food, healthcare and other necessary items for Rohingyas. We don't need to ask any questions as to why around Tk 2500 crore was spent to refurbish a risky island, if it would be rejected ultimately. We have earned discredit by welcoming the Rohingya refugees and being unable to play an international role to compel them to go back to their own country. The lives of the refugees here are miserable and unsafe. The fact is that this government depends on lies and wrong advice of the corrupt bureaucrats with the arrogance of controlling the government who have been successful in making the government thoroughly unpopular and rely on police for rigging election.
The government has built an island with huge cost and corruption for safe shelter of Rohingyas knowing that it has no friend to help in short term or at all for creating pressure on  Myanmar not to punish Bangladesh with the  unbearable  burden of their people.

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