UNHCR Agree More Support for Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh Island

Dhaka, MINA – The head of the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR has agreed to step up support for Rohingya refugees who are being relocated to a remote and flood-prone island in Bangladesh, despite fears people are being moved there against their will.

Speaking to reporters in Dhaka on Wednesday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi promised to “increase our presence” on the island, Al Jazeera have reported.

Bangladesh aims to relocate some 100,000 Rohingya refugees to the previously uninhabited Bhashan Char to reduce overcrowding in its sprawling network of refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar.

About 920,000 members of the stateless Muslim minority are currently in squalid border camps there, dependent on aid after they fled violence and a 2017 military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar.

“A lot has been done (in Bhashan Char) by Bangladeshi NGOs and now by UN agencies with the government,” Grandi said.

“We need to do more and I agree with the government which has urged me to step up,” he added.

UNHCR signed a deal last year with Bangladeshi authorities to help assist, and protect refugees in Bhashan Char, where some 20,000 refugees have been relocated.

However with only 13 percent of the UN efugee agency’s $881 million annual response plan for the Rohingya currently being funded, Grandi admits it will be a struggle.

“I’m a bit worried … first of all, here, there’s more need because there’s Bhashan Char, and now with Ukraine and Afghanistan and a lot of other competing crises, we’re going to struggle a little bit,” he said.

While Bangladesh has been praised for accepting refugees fleeing a military campaign in Myanmar that the US says is genocide, after five years, Dhaka has managed to find a permanent home for the Rohingya. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)