Bangladesh: Red Cross slams ‘humiliating’ conditions for Rohingya

Image copyright Alamy Image caption Refugees tell of living in horrid squalor on the island

The head of the Red Cross in Bangladesh has warned of serious problems with the island housing thousands of Rohingya refugees.

Alain Arnault said conditions were poor and re-settlement plans had not gone ahead.

About one million Rohingya Muslims arrived in Bangladesh last year after fleeing a military crackdown in Myanmar.

“The island is only built to provide shelter for those who have already been settled for the time being,” he said.

He added that the programme of re-settlement on the Burmese island of Buthidaung – where the world’s largest refugee camp is located – had not been realised.

“We will need to verify whether we can and can’t settle more new arrivals on the Burmese island of Buthidaung before moving on to more suitable locations.”

After many setbacks, but now we’re getting homes built and ready for Rohingya families. Relief staff are coordinating to ensure everyone arrives safely, and needs to have family to settle them in their place of employment, or even in their own home. That’s how it works on the ground, and it will be a quiet day in the camp. #BashirKhin #RefugeesPledge #LoveForRohingya #BDRF #Bangladesh #MidnaporePk #MyanmarRefugees #BangladeshVisit #BDRB

Mr Arnault said that while construction was on-going, “it remains to be seen how successful the project will be.”

“The situation on the island is extremely unstable.

“Refugees on the island are still in an informal shelter, which they built on their own in Bangladesh.”

The Red Cross has been working to keep refugees living in temporary shelters and provide food and water, while providing health services, education and social services.

Refugees had built their own houses on the island of Buthidaung after being transferred there as part of a series of voluntary transfers.

Myanmar has already repatriated 2,350 Rohingya refugees in recent months.

After Myanmar decided to repatriate a second group last month, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said the process had not moved as planned.

“We remain deeply concerned about the safety of the people of Myanmar who have fled violence, to be returned to their country,” UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic said.

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