Bangladesh: Is Bhasan Char a ‘prison island’ for Rohingya refugees? | The Stream


Concerns are mounting about the fate of some 20,000 Rohingya refugees who have been relocated to a remote island 60km (37.5 miles) off the coast of Bangladesh in recent months.

In Bhasan Char, these migrants face food shortages, inadequate healthcare, informal education, and few employment options, Human Rights Watch said in a new report.

The Rohingya are a majority-Muslim ethnic group who have lived in Myanmar for generations, but deadly military crackdowns in 2016 and 2017 spurred many to flee to neighboring nations.

Bangladesh continues to host the majority of the refugees – some 1 million Rohingya – in and around camps at Cox’s Bazaar, the world’s largest refugee camp. To help ease crowding there, government officials aim to move 100,000 refugees from the mainland into the $350 million Bhasan Char development. But advocates are urging authorities to reassess this strategy.

However, as the refugee crisis enters its fourth year, Myanmar has not taken any steps to repatriate the Rohingya, and conditions remain unsafe for their return.

In this episode of The Stream we ask, should Bangladesh stop sending Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char?

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