Burma Campaign UK today called on the government of Bangladesh to immediately halt the forced relocation of refugees to Basan Char island, and instead work with Rohingya refugees and international donors on a long-term plan for hosting refugees.
Bangladesh has begun moving thousands of Rohingya refugees to the remote Basan Char island, more than 20 miles from the mainland.
“The forced relocation of Rohingya and imprisonment in camps echoes the actions of the government of Burma,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “This is a protracted refugee crisis and shipping Rohingya to island prison camps is not a solution.”
Aung San Suu Kyi’s government is refusing to take steps towards safe return for Rohingya refugees, including citizenship. The international community is refusing to put pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi to do so. No country in the world is implementing the UN Fact-Finding Mission recommendations designed to start to address the crisis.
Given the lack of international action to help bring about safe return, it is clear that Rohingya refugees are going to be in Bangladesh for a very long time. Bangladesh needs to develop a new approach based on this reality.
Rohingya refugees need to have proper housing with water, sanitation and electricity. They need opportunities to work, decent healthcare and all children need immediate access to education. Forcibly relocating Rohingya refugees and deliberately keeping refugees in squalid conditions as part of a deterrent approach is morally wrong as well as unsustainable and dangerous.
“Bangladesh enhanced its international reputation when it took in hundreds of thousands of refugees, but it is severely damaging its reputation with its treatment of those refugees,” said Anna Roberts. “Bangladesh must now work with Rohingya refugees and international donors on a long-term sustainable plan for hosting refugees.”