Dhaka to shift Rohingya refugees to new islands

| | Dhaka

Even as it prepares to repatriate  Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, with the monsoons round the corner, Bangladesh plans to shift some of the  Rohingya refugees to new islands, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali has said.

While the discussions are still on on the development of these islands, Bangladesh Government hopes to move about one lakh of Rohingya refugees from the almost 11 lakh who have taken shelter in Cox Bazaar.

The refugee camps are largely based on the hill top and are prone to landslides. Bangladesh government does not want these refugees to be facing life threatening situation in monsoons.

“Some new islands have come up in Bay of Bengal. We are trying to shift about one lakh in the first lot,” Ali said in a special interaction with visiting media from several countries on Saturday.

On Friday, Bangladesh signed an agreement with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that will see UNHCR taking over repatriation of these refugees to Myanmar.

However, Ali expressed concerns over the return of Rohingyas to Myanmar given the fact their houses have been razed down by Myanmar security forces and even the names of the villages changed. India is  providing porta cabins to help desl with housing crisis when these refugees return to Myanmar and proving support to Bangladesh also.

Sending them back will be another challenge as the last time these refugees came to Bangladesh in 1971 less than half returned. Bangladesh Government is hopeful this time more numbers will return.

“The sooner they return the better. So far we have been keeping a strict vigil on them but in future they can create security challenges for the region,” the Minister said.



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