UN knowledgeable needs scrutiny of circumstances at Bhasan Char | Myanmar
An estimated 1,642 Rohingya were relocated to the flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal before the United Nations could assess the safety of the refugees.
A United Nations human rights expert has called for an independent assessment of conditions in Bhasan Char, the remote island in Bangladesh, where more than a thousand Rohingya were captured earlier this month when he condemned the world’s “failure” to take action to help the people Refugees return to Myanmar.
The 1,642 Rohingya refugees were brought to Bhasan Char Island before the UN could even determine whether the island was “suitable to safely accommodate this vulnerable population,” said Tom Andrews, the special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar.
“These reviews and ratings are in the best interests of all,” he said in a statement.
“You will assure the government of Bangladesh of Bhasan Char’s ability to accept refugees or identify changes that may be necessary. It will also ensure that the government’s policy of strict voluntary relocation to Bhasan Char is actually carried out faithfully. “
The Rohingya refugees sailed from Bangladesh’s southern port of Chittagong to Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal on December 4th, despite humanitarian groups opposed.
They were among more than 730,000 Rohingya who fled Myanmar in 2017 after the UN executed with genocidal intent, according to the United Nations. Myanmar has denied the genocide allegation, stating that its armed forces took action against Rohingya rebels who attacked police stations.
Bangladesh said it had decided to relocate the Rohingya to Bhasan Char in order to reduce chronic overcrowding in camps home to more than a million people – both those who fled in 2017 and others who fled previous outbreaks of violence are.
However, refugees and humanitarian workers said some of the refugees were forced to go to the flood-prone island that emerged from the sea 20 years ago.
More than a million Rohingya refugees live in refugee camps on Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh [File: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters]The rapporteur’s comments came as the US State Department reiterated the need for “independent access” to Bhasan Char and raised concerns about the island’s vulnerability to extreme weather conditions.
“Independent access to Bhasan Char will help confirm whether refugees have been voluntarily relocated and will remain there and the site’s suitability to withstand cyclones and seasonal floods,” deputy lead spokesperson Cale Brown said in a statement.
Andrews said that further action by Bangladesh to relocate the refugees should depend on the outcome of the proposed UN assessment, adding that those who move should do so “of their own free will” and that their safety should be a priority.
Andrews said the Bangladeshi government has been “extraordinarily generous and compassionate” in providing security for the Rohingya, but the failure to provide conditions for their return to Myanmar after three years has created an “unsustainable situation”.
He said the ultimate blame should be Myanmar, which has “the moral and legal responsibility” to end the crisis.
“Make no mistake: the Rohingya crisis started in Myanmar and can only be resolved in Myanmar,” said Andrew.
“After the Rohingya have been forced to literally run for their lives across the border into Bangladesh, they want and deserve to return home.”
The US State Department also called on the Myanmar government to create “the conditions” for the Rohingya refugees to return “voluntarily, safely and with dignity.” The US has donated $ 1.2 billion to the United Nations since the crisis began three years ago.