Where are Rohingya now ? | UPSC
Where Rohingya are being sent: a newly surfaced island in Bay of Bengal
WHY IN NEWS:
It is estimated that more than 8 lakh Rohingya, who fled an army crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine Province in 2016 , live in the camps at Cox’s Bazar in unhygienic conditions.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : 2 : Migration : IR
- They live in the camps at Cox’s Bazar in unhygienic conditions.
BHASAN CHAR ISLAND
- Bangladesh’s plan is to move some 1 lakh refugees to Bhasan Char, 39 km from Naokhali on the mainland.
- The plan has been in the making since 2017.
- In 2018, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said it would be a temporary measure.
- Those relocated to the island would not be allowed to leave from there unless they are going back to Myanmar.
- The decision has evoked international concern.
WHAT’S ON BHASAN CHAR
- Bhasan Char is less an island and more mud flat, and is vulnerable to going under water from tides and flooding.
- Much of it is submerged during the monsoon.
- A Google Earth view shows part of its sedimentation under water.
- Located close to the much larger Sandwip, Bhasan Char spans 40 sq km.
- The government has built shelters, hospitals and masjids.
- According to media reports, construction of the concrete accommodation began in November 2017 at an estimated cost of 23.12 billion taka ($272 million).
- A Reuters report in 2018 said Chinese and British companies carried out the construction, which includes flood embankments and cyclone shelters.
- According to a report in the Bangladesh newspaper Daily Sun, 1,440 houses have been constructed at 4 m height from the land, and can accommodate around 100,000 people.
- Officials told the newspaper that people relocated to the island can engage in farming and livestock breeding.
- Of 120 shelters, 20 are allocated for civil administration, learning centres, mosques, community clinics, day-care centres, orphanage etc.
- Google Earth images show rows of red-roofed barrack-like structures on the island.
- It also has a helipad. Some fishing boats are visible, but the island is otherwise uninhabited.
HABITABLE OR NOT
- Ill-planned relocation, and relocations without the consent of the refugees concerned, have the potential to create a new crisis.
- The first group of 1,642 Rohingya arrived at Bhasan Char on December 4, transported by naval vessels from Chittagong.
MYANMAR & ROHINGYA
- Myanmar, which does not recognise Rohingya as an indigenous group.
- It refers to them only as Bengalis, has not reacted to the relocation to Bhasan Char.
- Two years ago, Myanmar had reluctantly agreed to take back some Rohingya, but hardly any went back.
- The army crackdown four years ago was against a group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which Myanmar said was a Islamist terrorist group.
- The UN-appointed independent international fact finding committee.
- The Army targeted civilians for killings, rape and sexual violence on “a shocking scale”.
- State counsellor Aug San Suu Kyi represented Mynanmar at the hearings.
- In January, the ICJ passed a provisional order directing Myanmar to take “all measures within its power” to prevent atrocities against members of the minority Rohingya Muslim community.
- The orders are not binding on Myanmar.
ROHINGYA IN MYANMAR TODAY
- Discrimination against the Rohingya continues in Myanmar.
- In the recent elections in which Suu Kyi’s party emerged with a bigger majority than in 2015.
- With up to a million Rohingya outside Myanmar, and voting called off in Rakhine state, where a lakh Rohingya still live, even those eligible could not vote.
- Nominations of Rohingya candidates were rejected for not being able to prove citizenship.
- The grouping operates on the basis of non-interference.
- The international horror at Suu Kyi’s defence of the army’s policies at the ICJ has led Myanmar to find solace in China’s arms.
- Amid all this, Bangladesh, which has done more than any other country for the Rohingya, believes it is within its rights to bypass UN concerns at the relocation to Bhasan Char.
SOURCES: IE | Where are Rohingya now ? | UPSC