UN agencies invited to assess Bhasan Char situation

United News of Bangladesh. Dhaka | Published: 21:13, Jun 19,2020


Bangladesh has invited the UNHCR together with other UN agencies to undertake a protection visit to the Bhasan Char island to ascertain the humanitarian situation and any immediate needs for the refugee population.

Discussions on the parameters of this visit are ongoing, according to the UN refugee agency.

UNHCR said any relocation of refugees to Bhasan Char should be preceded by thorough and independent assessments in five key areas.

These are safety and sustainability, UN and humanitarian personnel safety and security, protection, sustainable livelihoods and logistics and access.

To date, UNHCR said, these assessments were yet to be undertaken.

On May 2, after several weeks at sea, nearly 30 Rohingyas came ashore in Bangladesh, including many women and children.

They were subsequently sent by the Bangladesh authorities to Bhasan Char island, UNHCR said.

Another group of 277 Rohingyas rescued at sea by Bangladesh on May 17 were also transferred to the island.

On May 14, the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the Rohingya settlements and by the end of May, 29 cases were confirmed, according to the operational update on Rohingya Refugee situation covering the period of May 1 to 31.

UNHCR has established two Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Isolation and Treatment Centres with up to 200 beds, where COVID-19 positive patients are receiving treatment.

Four quarantine centres supported by UNHCR have also been established for those who have had contact with COVID-19 positive patients and require isolation.

Bangladesh wants other countries to share the burden of providing better life and living for persecuted Rohingyas in their own countries or relocate and settle them in third countries.

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said almost three years had passed, and although Myanmar agreed to take them back, not a single Rohingya went back home yet.

Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar and most of them entered Bangladesh since August 25, 2017 amid military crackdowns in Rakhine State of Myanmar.

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