Bangladesh sends second group of Rohingya refugees to isolated island in the Bay of Bengal
Officials in Bangladesh sent a second group of Rohingya refugees to an isolated island in the Bay of Bengal on Monday despite calls by human rights groups for a halt to the process.
More than 30 buses carrying about 1,500 refugees left their camps in Cox’s Bazar district on the way to the island, a government official involved with the process said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media, said the refugees will stay overnight in a temporary shelter in the southeastern city of Chattogram and are expected to reach Bhasan Char island on naval vessels on Tuesday at noon.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that more than 1,500 Rohingya refugees left Cox’s Bazar voluntarily under government management.
Authorities say the refugees were selected for relocation based on their willingness, and that no pressure was applied on them. But several human rights and activist groups say some refugees have been forced to go to the island, located 34km from the mainland. The island surfaced only 20 years ago. It was regularly submerged by monsoon rains but now has flood protection embankments.