UN has not started aid work for Rohingya in Bhasan Char, Bangladesh state minister says

Four months after representatives of the global body visited Bhasan Char, the United Nations has not started aid work for the Myanmar Rohingya refugees living on the island, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman has said.

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 10 May 2022, 05:28 PM
Updated : 10 May 2022, 05:29 PM

Enamur spoke to the media after a meeting with Isobel Coleman, deputy administrator of USAID, and Nicholas Koumjian, head of UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, in Dhaka on Tuesday.

“The UN agencies have not started working in Bhasan Char. I’ve sought USAID’s help so that the UN refugee agency [UNHCR] and the World Food Programme launch their programmes there,” he said.

The UN has been providing the Rohingya refugees with aid in the camps of Cox’s Bazar. The UN agencies expanded their presence in the camps by a great extent after more than 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar following a crackdown by the Myanmar military.

After the Bangladesh government launched a housing project on Bhasan Char and revealed its plan to relocate some of the 1 million Rohingya refugees to the island in order to ease pressure on Cox’s Bazar, the UN and other international organisations criticised the move.

Around 28,000 refugees have so far been moved to the island. The UN agreed to engage in Bhasan Char aid efforts in 2020 and a delegation of UN officials visited the island in January this year.

File Photo

Enamur said Coleman expressed “satisfaction” over the management of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. For Bhasan Char, she pointed out that the island needs a hospital with arrangement for advance medical treatment because the health facility there lacks surgery options, according to the state minister.

The health facility on Bhasan Char has specialists and proper medicines, but when a patient requires a surgery, they need to be sent to the mainland.

“USAID does not provide assistance directly. They will increase funding for the UNHCR and the WFP so that they can work here [in Bhasan Char]. The aid will be provided soon,” said Enamur.

The state minister also said Koumjian emphasised repatriation of the Rohingya refugees. “They said they wanted to sit with Myanmar, but the Myanmar government did not cooperate with them.”

Enamur said the bilateral cooperation with the Myanmar government to send back the Rohingya was ongoing. “Myanmar was given a list of refugees in a meeting last month.”