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Bangladesh relocates more Rohingya to remote island

Rohingya refugees board a Bangladesh Navy ship to be transported to the island of Bhashan Char in Chittagong on 4 December 2020. [AFP via Getty Images]
Rohingya refugees board a Bangladesh Navy ship to be transported to the island of Bhashan Char in Chittagong on 4 December 2020. [AFP via Getty Images]

Bangladesh on Monday began relocating the 2nd batch of Rohingya refugees to a remote island, amid concerns from rights groups, Anadolu reports.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency over the phone, a Rohingya refugee set to be relocated said that 15 buses carrying nearly 1,000 refugees started their journey to Bangladesh's southern port City of Chottogram from Cox's Bazar on Monday noon.

"We hope that Bangladesh will keep its commitment to us of providing opportunities of better life with freedom of movement, scopes of earnings, health care and education," he said, preferring not to be named.

Like the previous Rohingya batch, members of the 2nd group will also stay a night in Chottogram and sail out to Bhasan Char island through the sea route by the host country's navy ships on Tuesday morning.

"We are fully ready to receive the new arrivals at the Bhasan Char. We expect that by Tuesday evening they will reach," Commodore Abdullah Al Mamun Chowdhury, director of the Bhasan Char Rohingya Camp Rehabilitation Project, told Anadolu Agency.

In line with the government's plan, he said, arrangements have been made to relocate 100,000 Rohingya at Bhasan Char island.

"In the first batch we received 1,642 Rohingya and we have settled them there, and now we are waiting to receive another batch of less than 1,000."

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Citing safety and security at the crammed makeshift tents in the southeastern district of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh has developed new settlements for a temporary relocation of the refugees until a peaceful and dignified repatriation of the persecuted people to home country Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women, and children fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar's state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

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