Bangkok: Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday urged the Bangladesh government to relocate the makeshift camps where more than 7,00,000 Rohingya refugees have been living in overcrowded conditions for over a year. Members of the ethnic minority fled across the border following an offensive launched by the Myanmar Army on August 25 last year in Rakhine state after Rohingya rebels carried out a series of attacks on government security outposts.
The situation of “severe overcrowding” heightens the risk of “diseases, fires and increased community tensions, as well as domestic and sexual violence,” warned HRW refugee rights director Bill Frelick at the launch of the report “Bangladesh is not my Country: The plight of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar” in Bangkok, Efe news reported. With the onset of the monsoon rains, the threat of floods and landslides in the refugee shelters of Katupalong-Balukhali near the Myanmar border has increased. According to Frelick, experts have identified six viable relocation sites that could accommodate 2,63,000 people.
These sites, spread across more than 5.26 square kilometers, are located near where the Rohingyas are currently based, he said. Frelick said Bangladesh insists the situation is temporary, so it prevents the construction of permanent structures. Bangladesh plans to relocate 1,00,000 Rohingyas to an uninhabited island, Bhasan Char. (IANS)