On December 3, Bangladesh relocated 1,642 Rohingya refugees from the camps in Cox’s Bazar to the Bhasan Char island. Seven vessels of the Bangladesh Navy had brought these refugees to the island via Chittagong.
This was the first batch of relocation. More such batches are expected to follow suit, as the incumbent government of Bangladesh intends to relocate at least 100,000 refugees in this remote island.
The remote island is situated the Bay of Bengal and can be accessed by a three-hour boat journey from the nearest mainland. Bangladesh has around US$350 million to prepare this previously uninhabited island for this purpose.
According to the government, the camps in Cox’s Bazar have become overcrowded and it is becoming more difficult to manage these camps due to socioeconomic and security challenges.
Last week, the United Nations issued a statement saying refugees should be able to make a “free and informed decision” about any relocation, which must be preceded by independent technical and protection assessments of the island’s safety.