The decision by Bangladesh to house Rohingya refugees who fled the violence of Myanmar, in an uninhabited flood-prone island, in the Bay of Bengal have caused a panic return of this victimized community back to Myanmar. Thousands of Rohingya who took refuge in Bangladesh have returned back home, according to community workers. Rights groups have slammed the plan to populate the island of Thengar Char with refugees as it is frequently hit by cyclones.
The number of refugees who entered Bangladesh since last October totals to nearly 73,000 after government forces in Myanmar unleashed a ruthless crackdown on the Muslim minority where reportedly villages were burntand women gang-raped.
Most of the Rohingya initially headed to the already overcrowded refugee camps of Cox´s Bazar, Bangladesh´s apex tourist resort district bordering Myanmar, prompting Dhaka to activate a controversial plan to shiftthe refugees to the isolated and under developed island.
The news agency AFP quoted community leaders as saying that more than 5,000 Rohingya have returned to Myanmar despite the risk of persecution, even as Bangladesh continued with the work on the 6,000-acre (2,430-hectare) island, constructing a jetty, helipad and visitor facilities with the expectation that the Rohingyacommunity would use it.
Bangladesh, in the aftermath of seeking international support for the relocation of the Rohingya, and having begun a headcount of the Rohingya community, has stated that around 400,000 of them are currently living in squalid conditions at refugee camps in the country.
However most of the refugees are thought to have settled in prior to last year’s unrest in Myanmar.