Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today said relocation of Rohingyas to Bhasan Char will be done on a voluntary basis as they will only be moved there if they want to.
“If everyone wants to agree about relocation of Rohingyas then we will do it,” he said.
He was talking with newsmen after jointly inaugurating ‘Demonstration and Introduction of STP (Set-Top) Boxes for Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)’ in Bangladesh Missions abroad with Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud at foreign ministry here.
The foreign minister said earlier, the government had made a plan to relocate around 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char on a voluntary basis in April next.
“We made a huge arrangement for them (Rohoingya) as we thought they (Rohingya) will live there better,” he added.
However, Momen said, it’s not yet confirmed when it will take place as various conditions placed by various international organizations in this regard.
Mentioning that Bangladesh is hosting around 1.1 to 1.2 million Rohingya people in Cox’s Bazar district, the minister said there is risk of landslide there during the coming monsoon that may cause huge casualties. “That’s why we tried to take 23,000 families or around 1 lakh Rohingya people to Bhasan Char,” he said adding that the Disaster Management and Relief ministry is also looking into the matter.
On Monday the United Nations (UN) has appreciated Bangladesh government’s efforts for taking initiative to relocate a faction of Rohingyas to Bhasan Char, an island down to Noakhali from Cox’s Bazar.
“The UN appreciates the government’s efforts to seek alternative locations for refugees to settle which could help decongest the overcrowded settlements in Cox’s Bazar,” UN said issuing a press release.
The UN however sought clarification about the modalities of any relocations, the living conditions that would be provided and the basic rights and services that refugees would be able to access if they decided to relocate to Bhasan Char, as well as issues of governance and access that the UN and partners would have to the island.
According to the statement, the UN considers that any relocation to Bhasan Char must be on a voluntary basis and that refugees should have relevant, accurate and timely information on the project from the government, so they can make free and informed decisions.