Bangladesh is expected to send hundreds more Rohingya Muslim refugees to a controversial facility on a remote island in the Bay of Bengal. This comes a few weeks after the forced relocation from the border with Myanmar began.
The government will send about 1,000 Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char Island in the Bay of Bengal this month, officials said Sunday.
“They will first be taken to Chittagong and then to Bhasan Char. It depends on the flood,” one of the officials said.
The Bangladesh government was building a network of temporary shelters on the island to resettle up to 100,000 refugees currently living in cramped camps in Cox’s Bazar near the border with Myanmar.
Earlier this month, more than 1,600 refugees were sent to the remote island, despite human rights groups saying the resettlement was “coercive.” A government official in charge of refugees, Mohammed Shamsud Douza, claimed the resettlement was voluntary and that they would only transfer people who were willing to go. “They will not be sent there against their will,” he said.
However, aid workers said officials have used threats and enticements to pressure people to leave Cox ‘Bazar.
The resettled refugees are among more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled a state-sponsored massacre in Rakhine state in Myanmar. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed, injured, arbitrarily arrested, or raped by Myanmar soldiers and Buddhist extremists mainly between November 2016 and August 2017.
The Rohingya are widely considered illegal immigrants in Myanmar and are denied the right to citizenship. Bangladesh also refuses to grant them citizenship.
A human rights group, Justice for Myanmar, has revealed that Myanmar has committed atrocities against the Rohingya in complicity with Israel.
The group said an Israeli company, Gilat Satellite Networks, provided Myanmar’s military with its technology during atrocities in Rakhine State.
Gilat is complicit in Myanmar’s war crimes and crimes against humanity, Justice for Myanmar said in a report released this week.
Israel supplied Myanmar’s military junta with more than 100 tanks and boats and other types of weapons in September 2017.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague(ICC) today officially opened preliminary investigations into crimes committed by the Myanmar army and government against the Rohingya Muslim minority.
There was “a credible basis” to believe that “widespread and/or systematic acts of violence” had been committed that could be classified as crimes against humanity, a statement said. In doing so, the judges granted a request by chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Bensouda had launched preliminary investigations into the displacement of the Rohingya from Myanmar in September 2018.
The Rohingya minority has been oppressed and discriminated against in Myanmar for decades.
As of August 2017, more than 740,000 Rohingya had fled a military offensive in Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh. They now live in the most difficult conditions in refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh.
A U.N. commission accused Myanmar’s military of mass killings and rapes among the Muslim Rohingya population with the “intent of genocide” in a report released last August.
The government of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi apparently has no interest in establishing a functioning democracy in her country, the U.N. Commission of Inquiry noted in its report.
The UN has announced its concern over the ongoing flight of the Rohingya Muslim minority from Myanmar’s Rakhine province.
11,432 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence to Bangladesh in the current year, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Said Raad al-Hussein said Wednesday on the sidelines of the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
According to him, there were other reports of violence and forced displacement and burning of Rohingya homes.
“No matter how many phrases, they cannot drown out the facts that people continue to flee persecution and risk their lives trying to escape, ” al-Hussein said.
Despite the agreement between the Myanmar and Bangladesh governments, no Rohingya have yet officially returned to their homes in Rakhine, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights added.
Even before that, the International Red Cross had described the current situation in Myanmar as unsafe for the Rohingya to return.
The UN has described the killing and oppression of Rohingya Muslims through systematic and planned actions as “racial cleansing” and called the Myanmar army the “worst military” in the world.
More than 700,000 people are now displaced since the renewed violence against Rohingya Muslims on August 25, 2017.
Rakhine State in western Myanmar has been the scene of attacks on the Rohingya by radical Buddhists and the army since 2012. The Myanmar government does not grant this minority any civil rights.
by Basit Abbasi – UN