• Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:17 am

HRW to Bangladesh: Allow UN experts to enter Bhashan Char for examining

  • Published at 01:45 pm October 1st, 2020
File Photo: In this handout aerial photo taken on June 19, 2019 and released on October 21 by Mukta Dinwiddie MacLaren Architects shows buildings intended to accommodate members of the Rohingya refugee community on the silt islet Bhashan Char in the Bay of Bengal AFP

The Rohingyas on the island pleaded to be allowed to return home with their relatives

Human Rights Watch has urged the Bangladesh government to allow the United Nations (UN) to visit Bhashan Char to assess its condition. 

Rohingyas protesting on the island were beaten with sticks and tree branches, according to Human Rights Watch.

Naval officers allegedly beat the refugees, including children, in retribution for their hunger strike beginning on September 21, 2020 to demand reunification with their families in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, HRW said on Thursday.

The beatings occurred while the Bangladesh government reportedly formed a committee to begin relocation of 10,000 Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char, despite widespread concerns over the island’s habitability.

“In a darkly ironic attempt to portray Bhashan Char as a safe location, Bangladesh authorities beat Rohingya refugees, including children, who were protesting their detention and begging to return to their families in Cox’s Bazar,” HRW Asia Director Brad Adams said. 

Refugees interviewed

The HRW interviewed eight refugees who went on the hunger strike.

“Navy personnel used tree branches and black rubber sticks to beat us,” one refugee said. 

“They beat the protesting women and men, and even the children who were standing with their mothers,” the refugee added.

HRW examined photos that showed injuries sustained by refugees because of beatings, but was unable to find out whether they received medical care for their injuries, the report said.

The refugees went on hunger strike just days after the government organized a “go and see” visit in which 40 refugees from the camps in Cox’s Bazar, including community leaders and some family members of those being held on the island, were taken to Bhasan Char for three days, the report further said.

The report also said during the visit, refugees detained on the island pleaded to be allowed to return home with their relatives. 

Delegation members reported concerns over conditions on the island, including inadequate medical facilities, restrictions on freedom of movement, lack of opportunities for livelihoods, and fears about safety during monsoon season.

Bangladesh government refused to allow a promised UN protection visit to the island to provide urgent services to over 300 refugees who have been detained there since they were brought ashore after months stranded at sea, the HRW report also said.

The government is pushing through a relocation process in contravention of basic rights protections despite repeated concerns raised by the UN and humanitarian experts.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was rightly celebrated for welcoming refugees from Myanmar, but her government is now holding desperate men, women, and children on Bhasan Char,” Adams said. 

“If UN experts find the island to be safe and habitable, and refugees’ rights are respected, then people may freely choose to relocate there. But beating people up for seeking to reunite with their families is completely unacceptable.”

Bangladesh hosts 1.1m Rohingya

Altogether, Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district and most of them entered Bangladesh since August 25, 2017, amid a military crackdown on Rohingyas in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail