In order to decongest the Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar, the government has long been trying to relocate 100,000 of the displaced people to the island, being developed by Bangladesh Navy, at a cost of hundreds of crores of public money
A United Nations technical assessment team, comprising experts from different countries, will evaluate the safety features of Bhashan Char on November 17-19, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief’s Senior Secretary Md Shah Kamal told Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday.
In order to decongest the Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar, the government has long been trying to relocate 100,000 of the displaced people to the island, being developed by Bangladesh Navy, at a cost of hundreds of crores of public money.
However, the government’s efforts may be in vain due to the opposition of the international community and unwillingness of the Rohingyas to be relocated to Bhashan Char, which is located in the Bay of Bengal, 21 nautical miles from Noakhali Sadar.
“Yes, a UN technical assessment team will visit Bhashan Char from November 17 to 19. During this period, experts from different countries will assess the safety aspects of the island,” Shah Kamal told this correspondent.
“An expert team of the navy, which also includes foreigners and members of another team we formed with people from different ministries, will also be with the UN team,” he said.
About the composition and mode operations of the UN team, the secretary said: “A meeting will be held in Cox’s Bazar tomorrow[today] with the foreign secretary in chair. The meeting will also be attended by the different UN organizations. Everything will be discussed in that meeting.
“We are hoping that the team will give its opinion upon completion of the assessment. If their assessment is positive, then we will inform the Rohingyas of the safety clearance of the team, and start the relocation,” he said, stressing that any relocation will be voluntary.
“If their assessment is not positive, we will want to know from them what we lack and try to fix the problems,” he added.
The first ever UN technical assessment team on Bhashan Char might have 11 members, Shah Kamal further added.
With respect to selecting the members of the technical assessment team, Bangladesh expects maximum transparency and honesty from the UN, he said.