Take Action for Human Rights: Ramadan 2021
Halt the relocation of Rohingya refugees to Bhashan Char
Photo Credit K M Asad/LightRocket via Getty Images
Most of the million Rohingya who have fled Myanmar began arriving three years ago. Starting in late August, more than 740,000 Rohingyas fled Myanmar after their homes were burned, and at least 10,000 Rohingya men, women and children were killed in the Myanmar military’s crimes against humanity. In September 2020, two Rohingya refugees said that they heard accounts of sexual harassment at the hands of police and Navy officials on the island. The authorities vehemently refused to commission a prompt and impartial investigation into the allegations.
Two weeks prior to the relocation in December 2020, five family members, who represent 23 Rohingya refugees, told Amnesty International that they were forced to sign up to relocate to Bhashan Char (which in English translates to “floating island”). A Rohingya woman on the list for relocation told Amnesty International that she registered to go to the island because her husband is there. Two Rohingya families were put on the list for relocation after they reported partial damage of their shelters to government officials. Instead of having their shelters repaired, they were told that they must relocate to Bhashan Char.
Humanitarian staff in the healthcare sector have expressed grave concerns about the relocation. A Rohingya patient expressed “complete panic” ahead of the relocation, saying he was being forced to go to Bhashan Char. Staff of the prominent healthcare facility told Amnesty International that some of these refugees are on regular medications. Healthcare is a serious concern because there is no healthcare facility on the island except for a mobile clinic operated by the Navy that is open for only four hours a day between 8am and 12pm.