U.S. voices concern about Bangladesh's relocation of Rohingya

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday said it was concerned about Bangladesh's relocation of 1,642 Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char island and plans to carry out further moves, calling on Bangladesh to accept independent assessments of the move. The United States also backed the United Nations in calling for any such relocations to be 'fully voluntary and based on informed consent without pressure or coercion', State Department spokesman Cale Brown said in a statement. Bangladesh naval vessels moved the Rohingya refugees to the flood-prone, remote island in the Bay of Bengal on Dec.

Reuters December 11, 2020 00:12:19 IST
U.S. voices concern about Bangladesh's relocation of Rohingya

US voices concern about Bangladeshs relocation of Rohingya

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday said it was concerned about Bangladesh's relocation of 1,642 Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char island and plans to carry out further moves, calling on Bangladesh to accept independent assessments of the move.

The United States also backed the United Nations in calling for any such relocations to be "fully voluntary and based on informed consent without pressure or coercion", State Department spokesman Cale Brown said in a statement.

Bangladesh naval vessels moved the Rohingya refugees to the flood-prone, remote island in the Bay of Bengal on Dec. 4, despite complaints by refugees and rights groups that some were being coerced.

Bangladesh says it is only transferring people who are willing to go and the move will ease chronic overcrowding in camps that are home to more than 1 million Rohingya, members of a Muslim minority who have fled neighboring Myanmar.

A UN human rights investigator on Thursday urged Bangladesh to allow a safety assessment of the island and a verification process to ensure refugees were not forced to go.

In its statement, the United States urged Bangladesh to adhere to its commitment that the refugees would be allowed to go to camps on the mainland if they chose, and to ensure their freedom of movement and access to work and basic services.

"Independent access to Bhasan Char will help to confirm whether refugees were relocated voluntarily and remain there voluntarily, and suitability of the site to withstand cyclones and seasonal flooding," Brown said.

Brown also reiterated Washington's call on Myanmar to create the conditions conducive for Rohingya refugees’ voluntary, safe, and dignified return to their home country.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alex Richardson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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