A boat carrying dozens of Rohingya refugees was sent to a remote uninhabited island by the Bangladesh government after spending weeks at sea. They tried to reach Malaysia when they were intercepted. The island is Bhasan Char, a tiny islet in a cyclone-prone area, in the Bay of Bengal.
The government of Bangladesh justifies the measures as a way of preventing a coronavirus outbreak in the refugee camps. Despite the controversy, Bangladesh authorities built facilities for about 100,000 people on Bhashan Char in 2019. “For Rohingya, Bangladesh’s Bhasan Char will be like a Prison,” Brad Adams, Asian director from Human Right Watch, warned by then. Bhasan Char island has limited access to education and health services.
There are at least two other boats with hundreds of people at sea between Bangladesh and Malaysia, according to Reuters. Bangladesh hosts about 1 million Rohingya refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar in 2017. Since then, they have lived in crowded camps.