HRW Calls on Bangladesh to Allow Rohingya Refugees to Leave Bhasan Char

New York, MINA – A fishing boat carrying more than 40 Rohingya refugees, including children, capsized on August 14, 2021 in the Bay of Bengal, killing at least 11 people, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday.

HRW said the refugees fled the remote Bangladeshi island of Bhasan Char, reported.

The agency calls on the Government of Bangladesh to allow Rohingya refugees to leave the island of Bhasan Char, so that they can safely regroup with their families in the refugee settlements in Cox’s Bazar.

HRW stressed that the Government, which is finalizing a joint UN plan to start operations on the island, must make the safety and protection of the refugees a priority, including by giving them freedom of movement to return to Cox’s Bazar.

“The arrest of Rohingya refugees trying to escape from what has been described as a ‘prison island’ demonstrates that guarantees from Bangladeshi authorities of voluntary relocation and freedom of movement are a hoax,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“The government needs to show that Bhasan Char is safe and livable, including by allowing refugees to come and go freely,” he said.

Only 15 people are known to have survived the capsize on August 14, 11 bodies were found and 16 people are still missing.

At least 200 refugees trying to escape the dire conditions in Bhasan Char have been arrested since May, although aid workers suspect the real number is much higher, and arrests continue. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)