Rohingya protest over relocation
SEVERAL thousand Rohingya refugees staged “unruly” protests yesterday against living conditions on a cycloneprone island off Bangladesh where they were moved from vast camps on the mainland, police said.
Since December, Bangladesh has shifted 18 000 of a planned 100 000 refugees to the island of Bhashan Char from the Cox’s Bazar region, where 850 000 people live in squalid, cramped conditions. Most had fled a brutal military offensive in neighbouring Myanmar in 2017 that the UN said was executed with “genocidal intent”.
Yesterday’s protest involved up to 4 000 people, police said, and coincided with an inspection visit by UN refugee agencyofficials. Police said they broke the glass on warehouses by throwing rocks. A rights activist said police used batons to disperse them. Police rejected the claim. After the first transfer in December to the island in the Bay of Bengal, Rohingya said they were beaten into agreeing to be relocated. The Bangladesh government insists relocation is voluntary.