Bangladesh disembarks Rohingya refugees on a dangerous island in the Bay of Bengal

Bhashan Char Island, here in October 2018. AFP / POLASH SHIKDER

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They may be infected with the coronavirus. This is how Bangladesh explained its move to land twenty-eight Rohingya refugees on an island in the Bay of Bengal. But the islet is subject to cyclones and floods.


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It is very likely that they will remain there until their return to Burma,  " the Bangladeshi foreign minister said on Sunday when the transfer of 28 refugees, including fifteen women and five children, to the island was announced. by Bhashan Shar. Since last year, Dacca has been thinking of settling some of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees there after fleeing Burma.

250 others who also landed on the coast in inflatable boats have not been found. All were among 500 refugees stranded on two boats at seafor several weeks, Burma as Malaysia refusing to welcome them.

Refugees in " great danger "

This suspected coronavirus infection gives Bangladesh the first opportunity to transfer refugees to Bhashan Shar. Because if last year Dacca built there enough to house 100,000 people, to reduce the pressure on its border camps in Burma, the proposal is far from popular among the Rohingyas: the island of Bhashan Shar is made of mud and undergoes cyclones and floods.

Human Rights Watch has also estimated that the landing this weekend will put the refugees "  in greater danger after the suffering already endured  ." For its part, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that comprehensive assessments must be carried out before anyone is moved to the island. He specifies that, if a quarantine is necessary, all the measures are already in place in the usual camps of Cox's Bazar.

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  • Bangladesh
  • Burma
  • Rohingya

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