UN agrees to support Rohingya refugees on Bangladesh island

Dhaka, Oct 9 (EFE)- The United Nations has agreed to provide humanitarian support to the Rohingya refugees who have been relocated by Bangladesh authorities to the remote Bhasan Char island from their camps in the southeastern Cox’s Bazar district.

The Bangladesh representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Johannes van der Klaauw, on Saturday signed an agreement in this regard – on behalf of all UN agencies – with the Bangladesh government in Dhaka.

“The way they were taking care of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, they would provide the same support to refugees in Bhsan Char. They will give both food and non-food items,” Md Mohsin, secretary at the disaster management ministry, told EFE after signing the pact on behalf of Bangladesh.

He added that the agreement would be effective immediately and that the UN agencies would continue to work for the repatriation of the refugees to Myanmar alongside providing humanitarian support.

The office of the UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh said in a statement that the agreement would allow a close cooperation between Dhaka and the UN on services and activities to the benefit of the increasing numbers of Rohingya refugees living on the island.

The agreement will cover the key areas of protection, education, skills-training, livelihoods and health, which the UN said “will help support the refugees to lead decent lives on the island and better prepare them for sustainable return to Myanmar in the future.”

The Bangladeshi government has so far relocated around 20,000 refugees to Bhasan Char.

Mohsin said they would resume shifting refugees to the island in the first week of November and 80,000 Rohingyas could be relocated within three months.

Rights groups have expressed concerns over conditions on the previously uninhabited island, which is prone to monsoon floods and cyclones.

Nonprofit Human Rights Watch reported in April that Bangladesh security forces had arrested and beat up at least a dozen refugees while they were trying to leave the island, also restricting their freedom of movement subsequently.

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