The 306 Rohingyas currently on Bhasan Char should be reunited with their families in Cox’s Bazar, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement said Human Rights Watch had interviewed 20 Rohingya refugees from the 40-member delegation that visited Bhasan Char and returned to Cox’s Bazar on September 8.
Some of those who were interviewed said they wanted the refugees detained on the island to be allowed to return with them. Others expressed serious concerns over the quality of medical facilities on the island, the lack of livelihood opportunities, and the safety of the island during monsoon season.
“Only by allowing UN experts to conduct a long-promised independent assessment would it be possible to determine the feasibility, safety, and sustainability of the arrangements at Bhasan Char,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
The statement also said the visit by the Rohingya delegation was arranged without consultation with United Nations agencies or nongovernmental organizations.
The Bangladesh government has repeatedly promised that it would await clearance from UN agencies and independent technical experts on emergency preparedness, habitability, and safety of the island before relocating Rohingya to the island.
A Rohingya camp leader who visited the island said the refugees were also awaiting an expert assessment
“We want international experts from UN and other international agencies to visit Bhasan Char to tell us if it is safe,” he added.
The 306 Rohingyas currently on Bhasan Char were placed on the island after they were rescued from boats in the sea in various attempts to flee Myanmar.