Last Friday seven ships of the Bangladesh Navy departed from Chittagong Patenga jetties carrying the first batch of 1642 Rohingya refugees, to Bhasan Char Island.
In August 2017, around seven million plus Rohingya Refugees had fled Myanmar and took Shelter at Coxbazar. Around 11 lakh Rohingya refugees are living since then in 34 refugee camps in Bangladesh.
The Hasina government took initiative to reduce the population at Coxbazar camp. The project in Bhasan Char had started in 2018. Around 1500 buildings was built under the direct supervision of the Bangladesh military. There’s also a school, a community centre and a hospital.
“The Rohingyas are Myanmar nationals and they must return to Myanmar. The government of Bangladesh is doing its best for the safety and security of these temporarily sheltered Myanmar Nationals,” the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) stated on Friday.
“The relocation has become imperative to decongest the overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar that have temporarily been accommodating nearly a million of Rohingyas with many more thousands born each year,” said the MoFA statement.
“We will find peace, comfort and nice housing in Bhasan Char,” a 60-year-old Mahmuda Khatun who went to Bhasan Char told Bangladesh English daily The Daily Star.
She said, “We had to live under tarpaulin in the camps in Cox’s Bazar in too much heat and among too many people. We couldn’t bathe and suffered very much. Bhasan Char has a building to live in and other facilities, we will find comfort and peace there. That’s why I am going there on my own will.”
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen had said in a statement that the government will not be forcing the Rohingyas to shift to Bhasan Char.
“We are not taking Rohingyas to Bhasan Char forcibly. We’re taking those who are willing to go. They are going to Bhasan Char voluntarily,” he said.