To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the situation for Rohingya refugees in Bhasan Char in regards to (a) unlawful imprisonment, (b) access to food and (c) access to water.
19 November 2021
We are concerned about reports of unlawful imprisonment of Rohingya refugees on Bhasan Char, and continue to stress to the Government of Bangladesh that any relocation of refugees to Bhasan Char island must be voluntary, safe, dignified and in accordance with international humanitarian principles and standards. We have also stressed the importance of freedom of movement.
Some local Non-Governmental Organisations are supporting the provision of services on Bhasan Char, including access to food and water. We have been clear, along with the UN and multilateral banks, that we will not provide funding until we are sure that there is some freedom of movement, and that conditions on the island are safe and sustainable. We welcome recent progress made by the UN on operational planning, with technical teams now undertaking a set of assessments on the island to determine whether it is suitable to accommodate those who choose to relocate there.
The Minister responsible for South Asia, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, visited Bangladesh this month, and raised the challenges on Bhasan Char with both the UN lead agencies and the Ministry for Disaster Management and Relief, stressing the importance of dignified treatment of all the refugees while they remain in Bangladesh.