Relocating the Rohingyas to Bhasan Char | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 28, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:09 AM, February 28, 2021

Editorial

Relocating the Rohingyas to Bhasan Char

Bangladesh needs UN's assistance to make it a success

We are encouraged to learn that our foreign minister has requested the UN to provide humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas in Bhasan Char where the government has built a housing facility for one lakh Rohingyas. The foreign minister has explained to the UN Secretary General of the measures taken by the government for the relocation. By now, the government has relocated more than 10,000 Rohingyas to the newly built facility on the island. Alongside housing facilities, hospitals, cyclone shelters, schools, high flood protection embankment, etc., have been built there. The government has also undertaken initiatives to provide skills development training to the Rohingya men and women to ensure better livelihoods for them. Various NGOs have also started working in Bhasan Char to help them cope with the new arrangements.

While we appreciate the government's efforts to relocate the Rohingyas to Bhasan Char, we also know that our government alone cannot make it a success. Without the assistance of the UN and other international agencies, ensuring safe and respectable lives and livelihoods for the Rohingyas in Bhasan Char will not be possible and the economic burden will also be too much for Bangladesh to bear.

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But as we know, over the last few months there has been a stalemate between the Bangladesh government and the UN over the relocation of Rohingyas to Bhasan Char. While the UN sought the government's permission to send a technical team to assess the situation there, they did not get the government's permission to do so. The UN and other international agencies have made it clear that they cannot provide humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas on the island before technical assessment of the facility is complete.  Therefore, we think the stand-off between the UN and the government must end in order to ensure a better life for the one million Rohingyas living in Bangladesh, including those in Bhasan Char, and to expedite the repatriation process. Since the beginning of the Rohingya crisis in 2017, our government has received very good support from the UN agencies who have worked on the ground to help our government deal with the issue. We now want the UN to be very much a part of the Rohingya relocation process. On the other hand, the UN must also be conscious and appreciative of all the efforts Bangladesh has made so far in hosting the Rohingyas, which has been quite exemplary. They must understand that the relocation plan was made to ease congestion, save the environment in the Cox's Bazar camps and solve many other related issues. We hope both the UN and the Bangladesh government would consider the reality on the ground and find some sort of a solution to work collaboratively to resolve the issue.

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