The United Nations (UN) has appreciated Bangladesh’s efforts to seek alternative locations for Rohingyas but sought clarification about the modalities of potential relocation of Rohingya people to Bhasan Char.
The government of Bangladesh has said it plans to relocate Rohingya people from Cox’s Bazar to Bhasan Char which could help to “decongest” the overcrowded settlements in Cox’s Bazar.
Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingya people in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived here since August 25, 2017.
“We’re seeking clarification about the modalities of any relocations, the living conditions that would be provided and the basic rights and services that refugees would be able to access if they decided to relocate to Bhasan Char,” said the UN in Bangladesh in a press statement on Monday.
The UN is also seeking clarification on issues of governance and access that the UN and partners would have to the island.
The UN’s position is to “engage constructively” with the government of Bangladesh on Bhasan Char.
“We’re discussing with the Government the critical protection and operational issues that should be considered before any relocations take place, in order to ensure that refugees would be able to live in safe and sustainable living conditions on Bhasan Char,” the statement reads.
The UN said the viability of any Rohingyas relocations to Bhasan Char and the possibility of establishing a humanitarian response operation on the island would require thorough assessments including technical assessments of the island and careful planning.
“We’re also examining the potential operational implications of setting up a humanitarian response on Bhasan Char, including the requirements, time frames and costs involved in providing services,” reads the UN statement.
The UN considers that any relocation to Bhasan Char “must be on a voluntary basis.”
The UN said Rohingya people should have relevant, accurate and timely information on the project from the Government, so they can make free and informed decisions.
The views and concerns of refugees must be heard and addressed as part of the consultative process, reads the statement on the potential relocation of Rohingyas by the government of Bangladesh to Bhasan Char.