Refugee Camps in Bhashan Char: Relocation process 'will start in Sept' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 26, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:08 AM, August 26, 2018

Refugee Camps in Bhashan Char: Relocation process 'will start in Sept'

Bangladesh has planned to begin the relocation process of the Rohingya refugees, who fled the brutal military crackdown in Myanmar last year, from all refugee camps to Bhashan Char from September.

The relocation was supposed to take place before this year's monsoon, but was delayed as the char was not fully prepared for habitation, authorities concerned said.

At least 11 recommendations were made to be followed in the relocation process in a meeting held in Chittagong this month, joined by high-ups from the Prime Minister's Office and from district administrations and divisional commissioners' offices of Noakhali, Cox's Bazar and Chittagong.

One of the recommendations said that the relocation must begin and has to be completed between September to March. The authorities concerned also agreed that September to March was a safe period for seafaring.

The government will seek help from those in-charge at the camps, and the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) to motivate the refugees to relocate.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation would be tasked with the normalisation of commuting to and from the char through a launch service and the setting up of a jetty at Bhashan Char.

At first, leaders of Rohingya community will be taken to the island so that they can see the facilities, and can take charge of relocation by encouraging their community.

The government then plans to primarily shift 60 willing families before the inauguration of the relocation by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

This process is set to begin in September this year.

The authorities concerned also said that there would be arrangements for the Rohingya refugees to make a living through agricultural means -- producing milk products and fish farming.

The ministries of agriculture and fisheries, and Milk Vita will prepare everything needed in this regard, they added.

Md Abdul Mannan, Chittagong's divisional commissioner, however, told The Daily Star that government high-ups are yet to confirm this.

“Relocation depends on the completion of the work being done by the Bangladesh Navy at Bhashan Char. The work will take time to complete, as rain and rough seas have hampered it,” he added.

He said that once the Bangladesh Navy submits the compliance letter to the government upon completion of their work, the government will begin the relocation of the Rohingya refugees.

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