UN urges BD govt not to relocate Rohingya refugees

Dhaka, March 25 – United Nations (UN) on Monday urged the govt of Bangladesh not to relocate Rohingyas to Bhasan Char before reaching a consensus with them on the modalities.
Appreciating the Bangladesh government’s move to decongest the overcrowded settlements of Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar, UN in a press release said they are discussing with the government the ‘critical protection and operational issues’ and these matters should be
considered before the relocations.
UN also said 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.
“The UN appreciates the Government’s efforts to seek alternative locations for refugees to settle which could help to decongest the overcrowded settlements in Cox’s Bazar. The UN’s position is to engage constructively with the Government on Bhasan Char,” it said.
“We are discussing with the Government the critical protection and operational issues that should be considered before any relocations take place, in order to ensure that refugees would be able to live in safe and sustainable living conditions on Bhasan Char,” the release said.
“We are seeking 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,” UN said.
The viability of any refugee relocations to Bhasan Char and the possibility of establishing a humanitarian response operation on the island would require thorough assessments including technical assessments of the island and careful planning, it said.
“We are also examining the potential operational implications of setting up a humanitarian response on Bhasan Char, including the requirements, time frames and costs involved in providing services,” it added.
UN said the views and concerns of refugees must be heard and addressed as part of the consultative process. – Staff Reporter