Rohingya oppose relocation to an island

March 17, 2019

TEHRAN - The issue over the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh has become more complicated with Rohingya protesting the Bangladeshi government’s move to relocate them to a remote island.

Bangladeshi authorities said they are set to relocate some 100,000 Rohingya refugees to temporary houses on a remote island in the Bay of Bengal known as Bhashan Char.

At least 150 Rohingya Muslims were meant to be repatriated to Myanmar on Thursday, but protests put a stop to the operation. Hundreds of people chanted "we will not go" at a demonstration near the Myanmar border, according to reports.

The move has been criticized by the United Nations and aid groups. UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said it would be like "throwing them back to the cycle of human rights violations that this community has been suffering for decades."

Although construction is completed, the UN has said the island "may not be habitable."

Bhashan Char is a small island vulnerable to flooding and cyclones. In early 2018, Bangladesh began constructing roads, shelters and floodwalls on the island, and it has spent an estimated $280 million on the project.

Bangladesh plans to shelter around 100,000 Rohingya in 1,440 buildings it has built on the island.

The exodus of persecuted Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine state started in October 2016, and over the years around 100,000 people have fled Myanmar to escape persecution, murder, arson and rape.

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