• Sunday, Aug 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:04 pm

'Rohingyas confirmed to AHCs that relocation to Bhashan Char completely voluntary'

  • Published at 09:09 pm June 1st, 2021
File photo: Rohingya settlement at Bhashan Char in Noakhali Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

A section of international media and civil society organizations are continuously campaigning against Bhashan Char and Rohingya relocation, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Rohingyas relocated to Bhashan Char, who staged a demonstration during the visit of two senior UNHCR officials to the island on Monday, have also confirmed to said officials that their move to the island was completely voluntary. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed the matter in a press release on Tuesday. 

The Rohingyas also demanded the presence of the United Nations in Bhashan Char during the visit of the UNHCR officials, the ministry further added.

On Monday, Rohingyas staged violent demonstrations on the island during the visit of Assistant High Commissioner (AHC) for Operations Raouf Mazou and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Gillian Triggs.

Speaking for the first time on Monday’s disturbance, the Foreign Ministry said they had wanted UN presence to ensure facilities such as education, livelihood activities, and skill development.

"During their [the UNHCR officials] tour to Bhashan Char, a large number of Rohingya gathered together and launched a demonstration," said the ministry statement on the disturbance. 

"At one point, the crowd got agitated and in the process, some of the Rohingyas reportedly got minor injuries. Once the delegation left the island, the situation normalized," it said.

"The crowd had free and frank interactions with the AHCs and vented out their frustration and concerns over uncertainty vis-a-vis repatriation. In absence of any progress in repatriation, they expressed desperation to get out of the present situation and requested to consider relocation to a third country," it added.

The release further said: "The Government of Bangladesh noted with great disappointment that a section of international media and Civil Society Organizations have been continuously campaigning against Bhashan Char and Rohingya relocation with distorted information misrepresenting the facts.

"Such a campaign will undermine the magnanimous humanitarian gestures and the sincere efforts of Bangladesh. Excessive focus on temporary arrangement and undue criticism will only shift the focus from the permanent solution, which lies in repatriation and reintegration of Rohingyas in Myanmar," it said. 

"It must be remembered that the Rohingyas are Myanmar nationals. Any arrangement for them in Bangladesh - be it in Cox’s Bazar or in Bhashan Char - is purely on a temporary basis until they return to their country," the release said. 

"The UN is expected to assume their responsibility and operate within their mandate, taking into account the ground reality and concerns of the host community," it further added. 

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