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Reportage. A government committee approved $280 million for the resettlement project. Amnesty International called it 'a terrible mistake.'

Bangladesh closer to banishing 100,000 Rohingya to a barren island

As they wait for the repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar, which could take a long time, the Bangladeshi government has once again put forward a solution that it’s been toying with for some time: transferring a portion of them — a hundred thousand — to an uninhabited and almost uninhabitable island in the Bay of Bengal.

On Tuesday, after years of the project being discussed and successively dropped, a government committee approved a $280 million project to transform the small island of Bashan Char, also known as Thenger Gar, into a temporary shelter for Rohingya. This decision was strongly criticized by human rights organizations and by the members of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the main opposition to the government run by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League.

“It would be a terrible mistake to transfer the Rohingya refugees to an uninhabitable island, far from any other refugee settlement and prone to flooding,” said Biraj Patnaik, the director of Amnesty International for South Asia.

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