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UN spokesman disagrees on forced relocation of Rohingya refugees

UN spokesman disagrees on forced relocation of Rohingya refugees

Dec 05, 2020

United Nations, December 5: Rohingya refugees from Myanmar should not be forced to move from overcrowded camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, to an island in the Bay of Bengal, a UN spokesman said on Friday.
"We have heard some reports from the camps that some refugees may be feeling pressured into relocating to the island of Bhasan Char or may have changed their initial views about relocation and no longer wish to move," said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. "If so, they should be allowed to remain in the camps in Cox's Bazar."
Bangladesh has generally been hailed for its generosity in hosting about 1 million Rohingya refugees.
According to published reports, it has already moved about 1,600 of them to the low-lying island with promises of better facilities. There are concerns over possible flooding and inadequate medical care.
Dujarric said UN personnel have seen "troubling images of distressed refugees" during the relocation process.
"We have shared those concerns with the authorities in Bangladesh," he told a press briefing. "Our long-standing position, which bears repeating, is that comprehensive technical and protection assessments to evaluate the safety and sustainability of life on Bhasan Char should take place before any relocation."
"That's essential for us in terms of providing a way forward for any UN engagement on this process," the spokesman said. "We have not been involved."
He said refugees or internally displaced people should only be moved voluntarily and in safety and dignity.
Source: Xinhua