DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh’s government is moving forward with a plan to relocate Rohingya refugees staying in camps near the country’s largest tourist resort towns to a remote island.
A Cabinet order on Thursday directed officials to have the refugees transferred to Thengar Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal that is lashed by high tides year-round and frequently submerged during the monsoon season. The suggestion that they be moved to the area, hours by boat from the mainland, drew criticism from around the world.
The relocation plan was last proposed in 2015, but the government quietly suspended it after criticism from international aid groups and rights activists. Its reinstatement follows the arrival of an estimated 65,000 Rohingya from Myanmar after a crackdown by Myanmar’s army.
The UN says the Rohingya, Muslims denied citizenship in Myanmar, are the world’s most persecuted minority.