Potential relocation of Refugees by Government of Bangladesh to Bhasan Char, UN appreciates the Government’s efforts in it.

The Government of Bangladesh has said it plans to relocate refugees from Cox’s Bazar to Bhasan Char. The UN appreciates the Government’s efforts to seek alternative locations for refugees to settle which could help to decongest the overcrowded settlements in Cox’s Bazar.

The UN’s position is to engage constructively with the Government on Bhasan Char. We are discussing with the Government the critical protection and operational issues that should be considered before any relocations take place, in order to ensure that refugees would be able to live in safe and sustainable living conditions on Bhasan Char.

We are seeking clarification about the modalities of any relocations, the living conditions that would be provided and the basic rights and services that refugees would be able to access if they decided to relocate to Bhasan Char, as well as issues of governance and access that the UN and partners would have to the island.

The viability of any refugee relocations to Bhasan Char and the possibility of establishing a humanitarian response operation on the island would require thorough assessments including technical assessments of the island and careful planning.

We are also examining the potential operational implications of setting up a humanitarian response on Bhasan Char, including the requirements, time frames and costs involved in providing services.

The UN considers that any relocation to Bhasan Char must be on a voluntary basis and that refugees should have relevant, accurate and timely information on the project from the Government, so they can make free and informed decisions. The views and concerns of refugees must be heard and addressed as part of the consultative process.

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