Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Hasina Wazed said that she would send more Rohingya refugees to the island in the Bay of Bengal off her country’s west coast after a large inflow of the group arrived on Wednesday. The majority of the newest arrivals are reported to be women and children, according to Reuters.
During her announcement, the prime minister asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide “a friendly environment and help in restoration of the Myanmar boat. (The group) has been drifting from Myanmar for the last four months.” The Rohingya are currently stateless in Myanmar, but have fled across its borders to Bangladesh due to various abuses by the government.
Bangladesh was prepared to receive 700,000 Rohingya refugees, but only 140,000 have arrived so far.
Myanmar officials have allowed the international press to visit the island of Kutupalong in order to give an insight into the island’s conditions and purpose, according to Reuters. They are currently between the island and the state border of Teknaf, about 27 miles away. According to several reports, the government is not planning to remove the refugees from the island and are only planning to provide them with food and construction materials.
Amnesty International is calling the island “the world’s newest refugee camp” in a statement, saying it gives “a distorted picture of the persecution and abuse of [Rohingya] by the Myanmar government.”
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Sheikh Hasina called the Rohingya refugees a “warriors for their own rights.”
Since August of last year, many of Myanmar’s Rohingya have been arriving in the neighboring country, after violence erupted between the military and the civilian population. The UN has documented the lives of about 87,000 Rohingya have been made worse by the violence and 14,000 killed.
Reported by The Canadian Press and AFP.