Dhaka, Dec 8 (EFE).- A first batch of 24 Rohingyas left for the United States on Thursday as a part of the resettlement plan for the refugee group, Bangladesh authorities confirmed.
A total 62 Rohingyas have been cleared by the authorities for resettlement to the US, a Bangladesh foreign ministry official, who wished to remain unnamed as he was not authorized to speak to the media, told EFE.
“The first batch left today. The others will leave in phases,” he said.
Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mizanur Rahman told EFE they had cleared 62 Rohingyas for resettlement in the US but did not give further details.
Bangladesh’s foreign minister, AK Abdul Momen, told reporters in Dhaka on Wednesday that the US would take in 300 to 800 Rohingyas every year.
“There’s nothing to be excited about. (…) Rather, it will raise fresh concern as 600,000 Rohingyas living in Myanmar may try to come to Bangladesh now,” he said.
The resettlement of Rohingyas to the US started just a day after US Assistant Secretary of the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, Julieta Valls Noyes, concluded her five-day visit to Bangladesh.
“As part of our unwavering partnership with the Government of Bangladesh and our comprehensive response to Rohingya refugees, the US government is very pleased to establish, in coordination with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other resettlement countries, a resettlement program for the most vulnerable Rohingya refugees,” Noyes said in a statement.
Noyes, who visited refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char during her stay in Bangladesh between Dec.3-7 did not provide any concrete numbers about how many Rohingyas would be resettled in the US.
Bangladesh is home to over 925,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled neighboring Myanmar, including around 774,000 who escaped after the military launched a brutal campaign in 2017 described as ethnic cleansing and possible genocide by the United Nations.
In recent months some 28,000 Rohingya refugees have been relocated to Bhasan Char, a previously uninhabited island in the Bay of Bengal.
Two attempts to repatriate the refugees from Bangladesh failed because the Rohingyas refused to return home without guarantees of citizenship and security. EFE