A fishing boat carrying more than 40 Rohingya refugees, including children, fleeing Bangladesh’s remote Bhasan Char island capsized on August 14, 2021, in the Bay of Bengal, leaving at least 11 dead, Human Rights Watch today said in a press release.
“The Bangladesh government should permit Rohingya refugees to leave Bhasan Char so they can safely reunite with their families at the refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar. The government, which is reportedly finalizing plans with the United Nations to start operations on the island, should make the safety and protection of the refugees a priority, including by allowing them freedom of movement to return to Cox’s Bazar,” it further explains.
“The arrests of Rohingya refugees trying to escape what has been described as a ‘prison island’ shows that assurances from Bangladesh authorities of voluntary relocation and freedom of movement were a hoax,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“The government needs to demonstrate that Bhasan Char is safe and habitable, including by allowing refugees to come and go freely.”