Bangladesh starts relocating Rohingya refugees
Bangladeshi authorities on Thursday transported the first group of Rohingya refugees to the remote island of Bhashan Char, or “floating island,” in the Bay of Bengal. The island, located 21 miles from the mainland, only emerged 20 years ago and has never been inhabited. Bangladesh received some 700,000 Rohingya in 2017 after a military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar, also known as Burma, targeted the minority population.
What are the concerns over the move? Bangladesh’s navy spent $112 million preparing the island to support 100,000 people. It now hosts schools, homes, flood protection embankments, and a water supply system. But international aid groups have opposed the relocation, pointing to flooding concerns during the monsoon season. Refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar are overcrowded, and the refugees, who don’t have citizenship rights in Burma, have refused to return there.
Dig deeper: Read Anna Poole’s report on the violence faced by Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims.
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