Refugees eye island exile in Bangladesh


January 31, 2017

A gazette published by the Government of Bangladesh suggests they will move forward with the plan to relocate Rohingya refugees to the remote island of Thangar Char in Hatiya.

The Cabinet Division posted the gazette dated January 26, signed by Joint Secretary Habibur Rahman expressed concerns the unmonitored movement of the refugees might be responsible for crime, diseases and other socio-economic problems in the area.

The gazette did not use the term Rohingya but rather called them Myanmar nationals.

The government initiative seeks to separate Rohingya refugees, many who had assimilated with the local population, according to the gazette.

Our sources say the inhospitable terrain of Thangar Char does not permit human habitation, hence the reason why it is still devoid of settlement. Large parts of the island remain submerged during high tide. It has no protection against Bangladesh’s traditionally ferocious cyclones, and such an event might kill tens of thousands of people especially in the breakdown of evacuation procedures which is very likely in the remote island where administration does not have a strong presence.

Meanwhile government officers speaking on condition of anonymity to local media have also confirmed the island will not be suitable for habitation before the next decade and it does not make any sense to transfer tens of refugees to the place.

Rohingya MAP 1