DHAKA — A global rights group cast doubt Friday on Bangladesh's claims that thousands of Rohingya refugees are ready to move to a new island site that critics say is prone to natural disasters.
Dhaka has long wanted to move 100,000 people1 to the silt islet of Bhashan Char to relieve overcrowded mainland camps where almost a million Rohingya have lived since fleeing a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017.
Bangladesh is growing impatient with the Rohingya's presence in the country, and has clamped down on them since a repatriation attempt collapsed in August with not one of the refugees agreeing to return to Myanmar. This week the project's chief architect told AFP that the island and its storm-proof buildings would be protected by 3.5-metre (11-feet) high perimeter, calling it "one of the safest embankments" in Bangladesh.
- 1. Bangladeshi officials have said that between 6,000-7,000 Rohingya have already expressed their willingness to be relocated to the island, starting in November. But Fortify Rights said it interviewed 14 Rohingya at three camps, including some who appeared on lists of refugees allegedly willing to go, and found that none had been consulted "and all opposed it".