Government Policy

FM unhappy over negative campaign against Bhasan Char

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said a negative and false campaign has been launched abroad against Rohingya relocation to Bhasan Char insisting that the island is a safe, secure and very stable place to live.

“It’s a very stable place with far better facilities. It’s secure with adequate protective measures,” he told reporters at his office.

The Foreign Minister said no body was taken there giving money or bribe. “No way, we don’t have such practice.”

He said they are trying their best but negative campaign is going on based on false information. “Those who have already been shifted to Bhasan Char are very happy. We saw four Rohingya babies were born in Bhasan Char.”

The Foreign Minister said a number of countries officially and unofficially supported the government’s efforts to relocate Rohingyas to Bhasan Char. “So, things are improving. Hopefully others will understand.”

He said the government will take foreign media and foreign envoys stationed in Dhaka to Bhasan Char to see the facilities on the ground.

The numerous challenges associated with the temporary hosting of persecuted Rohingyas from Myanmar has compelled the government of Bangladesh to plan relocation of 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhasan Char, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Accordingly, 1642 Rohingyas were relocated to Bhashan Char on December 4, 2020. The second batch, comprising 1804 Rohingyas, was transferred from Cox’s Bazar to Bhasan Char on December 29, 2020.

The government made it “unambiguously clear” that the relocation process in line with the GOB’s efforts to decongest and de-risk the camps, strictly followed the principle of voluntariness and was conducted with utmost transparency.

There was no question of the use of force, intimidation or the use of money to influence the decision of the participants, MoFA said.

The relocation took place in the presence of representatives of media, civil society and NGOs. None of them raised any question of coercion or use of force. Rather, when interviewed, the Rohingyas informed that they were encouraged by the positive reports on Bhasan Char that were shared with them by their relatives who were already on the island.

The government re-emphasized that Bhasan Char is completely safe and suitable for human habitation.

The 30 years’ old island has all the amenities including healthcare, drinking water, options for economic activities, cyclone shelters etc, it said.

The island offers enough space for the free movement of the Rohingyas and Bangladesh Inland water transport corporation (BIWTC) has already introduced regular sea-truck service between Bhashan Char and Noakhali.

Source: United News of Bangladesh