Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | ePaper

Long-awaited Rohingya relocation kicks off despite UN, EU and int`l bodies` opposition

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As part of the long-awaited government move to relocate Rohingyas from congested refugee camps in Cox's Bazar to Bhasan Char, a total of 1,642 Rohingyas arrived safely at the island from Chattogram on Friday afternoon, despite opposition from the United Nations, European Union, human rights bodies and the Western-led international community. With their arrival, the process of relocating one-lakh Rohingyas to the island has officially kicked off.
After three and a half hours voyage by sea, the Rohingyas finally reached their new homes. They would now be settled into their homes at least until the repatriation process to their ancestral homes finally starts. Six Navy ships and one Army ship ferried the Rohingyas, while four speed boats, four country boats, and two Navy and to Coast Guard boats escorted the seven ships.
It is to be noted that four layers of a protection system have been set up to save the young island, which emerged in the Bay of Bengal, around 39 kilometres from Noakhali, in an estuary of the Meghna River in 2006 from natural disasters, including cyclone.
Mentionable that around 7,50,000 Rohingyas fled the Rakhine state of Myanmar in August 2017 following military-led crackdown that the UN had said was executed with genocidal intent, which Myanmar denies. They joined some 3,00,000 other Rohingyas, who had fled decades of violence in Rakhine. Bangladesh has been hosting over 11 lakh Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar camps in a very congested way.
Now Bhahan Char is well equipped with modern facilities, including schools, mosques, community clinics, mobile networks and Internet to provide shelter to one lakh Rohingyas. The Navy has prepared the Tk 3,100 crore housing project at Bashan Char to ease the congestion in Cox's Bazar camps.
Meanwhile, the UN office in Dhaka on Wednesday emphasised that the displaced Rohingyas who choose to move to Bhansan Char should have basic rights and services on the island, which would include effective freedom of movement to and from the mainland as well as access to education, healthcare and livelihood opportunities.
It is to be said that the government had engaged with the UN offices in Bangladesh from the beginning of making the decision in 2018 to take one lakh Rohingyas to the island facilities to decongest the camps in Cox's Bazar.     
We believe that the international community would appreciate the Bangladesh's Rohingya relocation process to Bhasan Char as it did when the government and people of Bangladesh had shown generosity and humanitarian spirit to save thousands of lives by offering shelter to such a huge number of Rohingyas.  

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