ZOOMBANGLA DESK: Recently ‘Human Rights Watch’ and ‘Fortify Rights’ published a twisted/distorted report regarding a noble act of Bangladesh involving Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMNs) staying at Bhashan Char.
A press release issued by Inter Service Public Relation Directorate (ISPR) claimed it saying that the report seemed intentionally fabricated in favour of the interest of a vested group with an aim to tarnish the image of Bangladesh Government.
It is to be noted that 306 FDMNs broke the country’s immigration law. Now Bangladesh is trying to resolve this legal issue. They tried to go to Malaysia with the support of international human traffickers by mechanized trawler. Failing to enter Malaysia, they had been floating at sea in a dismal condition, while no country including humanitarian organizations offered them refuge or any real help except expressing concerns.
During pick of COVID-19 situation at that point, Bangladesh rescued them on 07 May 2020 from the terrible environment of the sea and saved their lives. If these 306 people were not rescued by Bangladesh and offered a shelter in Bhashan Char, they would all be drowned at sea. During pick of COVID-19 situation taking these floating group of FDMNs to densely populated Cox’s Bazar FDMN camps could have been very risky.
When Bangladesh with its projected humanitarian approach saved the life of 306 men, women and children, provisioned for food, clothes, shelters, medical facility and all necessary commodities to live with, why then Bangladesh should create trouble for them? When Bangladesh voluntarily did the needful, some parties with vested interest raised their fabricated concern instead of supporting them in real sense. Just for everyone’s consumption, Myanmar Government imprisoned a group of 30/40 Rohingyas at the same time with similar reason of violating her immigration laws by entering to neighboring country and returning to Myanmar.
At the moment, Bhashan Char is a highly secured locality/island with quality accommodation, hygienic toilet, fresh water, medical facilities, community centers and schools for education. There are 1440 cluster houses including 120 shelter stations. The entire area is secured with CCTV coverage. The living areas of female FDMNs are only accessible to female police and female nurse/medical staffs. Bangladesh Navy and 67 Police personnel (including female police) maintain security of Bhashan Char.
The opportunities of training or practicing economic activities (fishing, cattle farming, agricultural activities, handicraft etc) are also available there. These economic activities will help in equipping FDMNs with added capacity when they return home at Myanmar. Bhashan Char is well protected by high dam which was demonstrated during cyclone ‘‘Amphhan’’ with no damage in the island. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) Vessel will be operated to connect the island, where FDMNs of Bhashan Char will be allowed to visit their relatives at Cox’s Bazar.
The report by Human Right Watch and Fortify Rights do not commensurate with the existing facilities and secured living environment at Bhashan Char.
The humanitarian crisis that has plagued the Rohingya people needs to be dealt through an international effort rather than Bangladesh solely bearing the burden. Accepting immigrants is a temporary and limited humanitarian act that the international community must bear together. Such burden should not fall on the Bangladesh’s shoulders alone. Human Right Watch and other alike organizations should understand the unbearable pain that Bangladesh is facing since FDMNs exodus in 2017; thereby wholeheartedly should assist Bangladesh in resolving the issue.
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