2020-07-09 14:43:56 BdST

Move Rohingyas from Bhasan Char to Cox's Bazar camps: HRW

Human Rights Watch has urged the Bangladesh government to move 300 Rohingya refugees, including at least 33 children, from the silt island of Bhasan Char to the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps immediately.

The international rights body in a statement on Thursday said that despite pledges, the Bangladesh government has yet to allow the United Nations officials to provide protection services and aid to the refugees detained on Bhasan Char, who were stranded at sea for several weeks.

Quoting Bangladeshi authorities, HRW said that the rescued refugees needed to be temporarily quarantined on Bhasan Char to protect against the spread of Covid-19 in the crowded camps.

However, more than two months have passed, but the refugees still remain on the island, at risk of flooding and storms during the current monsoon season, despite calls from UN Secretary-General António Guterres and humanitarian experts to safely return them to the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, HRW added.

“Bangladesh authorities are using the pandemic as an excuse to detain refugees on a spit of land in the middle of a churning monsoon sea while their families anxiously pray for their return,” said Brad Adams, Asia Director of the body.

“The government is inexplicably delaying aid workers’ access to support the refugees with immediate care, and refusing to reunite them with their families in the Cox’s Bazar camps,” he observed.

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