Rohingya refugees face uncertain future in Bangladesh

The Bangladesh government is moving to relocate tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees to a vulnerable island in the Bay of Bengal. A government directive said they would be transferred to Thengar Char before being repatriated to Myanmar. Rights groups have raised strong objections to the plan, saying it amounts to a forced relocation. Thengar Char is engulfed by several feet of water at high tide, and has no roads or flood defences. It was formed about a decade ago by sediment from the River Meghna, and does not appear on most maps. The low-lying land is around 30km (18 miles) east of Hatiya island, which has a population of 600,000 – and nine hours’ journey from the camps where the Rohingya have taken shelter. An official in the region told the AFP news agency Thengar Char was “only accessible during winter and is a haven for pirates”.
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