UN Investigator Concerns Rohingya Refugees to be Relocated in Remote Island

Cox’s Bazar, MINA – The special investigator of the UN Human Rights Commission for Myanmar, Yanghee Lee expressed deep concern over Bangladesh’s plan to move 23,000 Rohingya refugees into a remote island. She warned that the island might not be habitable and could trigger a new crisis.

“There are a number of things that are not clear to me even after visiting the island,” Yanghee Lee said as qouted from ABC News on Tuesday. Including, she said, whether the island really could be inhabited by humans.

Previously, Bangladesh announced plans to move refugees to Bhasan Char island to reduce congestion at the Cox’s Bazar refugee shelter.

Currently, around 730,000 Rohingyas are accommodated at Cox’s Bazar, making it the largest refugee camp in the world.

The United Nations said the Muslim minority has fled mass murder and rape in the state of Rakhine, Myanmar, since August 2017.

A number of parties criticized this relocation plan. They said the island was often hit by storms and could not provide livelihoods for thousands of people.

“Unplanned relocation and without the consent of the refugees concerned, has the potential to create a new crisis,” Lee said who visited the island in January.

The Bangladesh government, he said, was obliged to ensure that this transfer did not create a new crisis. However, the Bangladesh Government has not yet responded to this problem.

Lee, who was banned from visiting Myanmar, said in a report to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva that around 10,000 civilians had fled Rakhine since November due to violence and lack of humanitarian aid.

She urged the UN Security Council to immediately bring the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

According to Lee, ICC officials also came to Bangladesh to carry out an initial examination of the case and their status could be raised to the prosecution stage.

“This is unprecedented. A small step forward but I really hope this will open up many other cases,” Lee said again. (T/Sj/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)