Japan, UNFPA join hands to provide $3.7 million assistance to Rihingyas in Bhasan Char, host communities in Noakhali
The government of Japan and UNFPA have on Tuesday signed an exchange of notes for the assistance to Rohingyas in Bhasan Char and host communities in Noakhali district. The contribution of USD 3.7 million will be used for improving access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, protecting the dignity and safety of women and girls from gender-based violence (GBV) and empowering adolescents and youth. “With the generous support of the government of Japan, UNFPA is able to work with the Government of Bangladesh to scale up lifesaving SRH, and GBV services and strengthen linkages between key health facilities in Noakhali district. UNFPA wishes to thank the Government of Japan for the confidence expressed and most notably their encouraging engagement to improve health and protection outcomes for women and girls and across Noakhali district and Bhasan Char,” said Kristine Blokhus, UNFPA Representative. Read more: UN adopts resolution on human rights of Rohingya, other minorities in Myanmar Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki said Japan can provide additional assistance to Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char, and to the host communities through UNFPA. "While many women and girls are suffering from reproductive health problems and GBV due to the protracted Rohingya crisis, assistance to those areas has been relatively scarce," he said. The Ambassador hoped that this assistance will contribute to the protection of women and girls, their dignity, and improvement of their quality of life. As the Rohingya crisis has turned into the sixth year, it is imperative to continue funding for better and dignified lives of refugees, while making every effort for the early repatriation to Myanmar, Naoki said. "Durable solutions of this crisis will be conducive to realizing the vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, Japan will stand by the Government and the people of Bangladesh in supporting the Rohingya response,” said Naoki. Read more: Relations with Bangladesh now deeper, more extensive: JICA Since the beginning of the emergency in August 2017, Japan has been a steadfast supporter of the Rohingya refugee response in Bangladesh, contributing over USD $175 million to UNFPA and other UN agencies and NGOs in Bangladesh, including through this new funding.
The European Union (EU) has announced additional Euro 3 million support for the Rohingyas in Bhasan Char. EU Commissioner for Home Affairs YIva Johansson announced the assistance at an event at the EU Embassy in the city’s Gulshan on Thursday. Ylva Johansson arrived in Dhaka this morning on a two-day official visit to discuss the issues of mutual interest with special focus on security matters. Read more: Dhaka seeks proactive role from Thailand, ASEAN to repatriate Rohingya At the event, State Minister for Disaster Management Enamur Rahman said, “We are happy to hear that the EU will provide € 3m as humanitarian aid for the Rohingyas in Bhasan Char. They also helped the Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar. The Government of Bangladesh expressed gratitude to the European Union for the support.” Enamur said the Bangladesh government is trying to ensure all kinds of humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas. The nutrition situation among the Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char has improved a lot, the state minister said adding violence among the Rohingyas has already been brought under control. Read more: Elaborate scheme to provide Rohingya with NIDs at Tk 1 lakh each busted Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in camps in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char. Most of them have come to this country since August 25, 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a brutal offensive targeting the Muslim ethnic minorities.
Locals detained seven Rohingyas trying to escape from Bhasan Char Ashrayan Kendra in Subarna Char upazila of the district early Wednesday. The detainees were identified as Mohammad Ismail, 19, Parveen Akter, 28, Morjina Akter, 18, Ayas, 10, Morjina Khatun, 8, Bechhana Parvez, 6 and Nur Begum, 39. All the detainees were residents of the shelter centre purpose-built for the Rohingya refugees on Bhasan Char island, in Hatiya upazila of Noakhali. Read: 18 Rohingyas fleeing from Bhasanchar arrested in Mirsarai Deb Priyo Dash, officer-in-charge of Char Jabbar Police Station under the Subarna Char upazila, said locals detained the Rohingyas following their suspicious movement from Eshak Munshirhat under the upazila area around 1:00am. Later, the detainees were handed over to the police, he said, adding that legal action will be taken against them
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming has recently visited Bhasan Char to meet the Rohingyas staying there temporarily and see the facilities there for them. Ambassador Li also inspected two projects on the island undertaken by Chinese companies, said the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka on Monday. Also read:Chinese ambassador greets Bangladeshis, wishes for global peace
Three Rohingya refugees who fled Bhasan Char have been detained and sent back, police said Friday. Locals nabbed the three in Mohammadpur union of the district's Subarnachar upazila on Wednesday evening and handed them over to the Char Jabbar police. Also Read: Ukhia camp: 6 Rohingyas burnt in gas cylinder fire The three Rohingyas have been identified as Khairul Amin, 21, son of Syedul Amin, Abdullah, 12, son of Md. Rafique, and Saiful Islam, 18, son of Abdul Khaleque. Ziaul Haque, officer-in-charge of Char Jabbar police station, said the detainees were handed over to Bhasan Char police on Thursday itself.
USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman has said there are some “structural issues” that need to be addressed in Bhasan Char before more people move to the Island. Those already there need help to meet their basic needs with more livelihood opportunities, she said. “We did talk about more livelihood opportunities for the people who are living in Bhasan Char. Housing (in Bhasan Char) is certainly an improvement over Cox’s Bazar (camps),” she said during an interaction with a small group of journalists at American Centre on Wednesday. Also read:USAID launches $20mn project to protect critical forests, wetland areas in Bangladesh Coleman who visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char said it is “more expensive” to support refugees in a “more isolated and remote area” while they will continue to work with their Bangladesh counterparts on the “issues of concerns.” Talking about environmental impacts, she said it is not yet known. She noted the government’s efforts to protect it from flooding through embankments as it is a “fragile and vulnerable” area. The efficacy and strength of the infrastructure of Bhasan Char and its disaster protection measures have been tested during the deadly cyclone AMPHAN, says the government of Bangladesh. To address any extreme situation, it said, there are arrangements for evacuation in a timely manner as per disaster response management framework. Coleman, who is not optimistic about any immediate repatriation, said every single Rohingya that she met wants to go home but they want to make sure that a safe environment is in place for a “dignified, voluntary and peaceful” return. “We must all remain hopeful that there will be a day when they will voluntarily return,” she said before wrapping up her five-day Bangladesh tour which she says impressed her due to “incredible progress” that Bangladesh has made on socioeconomic front. Coleman who will also visit Thailand and Laos as part of her tri-nation tour laid emphasis on giving access to education to all Rohingya children and noted the progress that has been made so far. Earlier, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, during a meeting with Coleman, stressed that the US may influence ASEAN members to persuade the Myanmar government to stop atrocities on its own nationals and take the Rohingyas back to their own land. Momen appreciated the announcement of the US government to contribute US$ 152 million under JRP 2022 for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis. Also read:USAID Deputy Administrator Coleman in Bangladesh Coleman deeply appreciated Bangladesh for hosting such a big number of Rohingyas from Myanmar stressing on improving provision of basic education, livelihood, communication, and transportation facilities in Bhasan Char. Responding to a question, she said the ongoing crisis in Ukraine has put an enormous strain on global humanitarian assistance. “We’ll always stand by Bangladesh and the Rohingya people” However, she said they also have to be cognizant of the strain on the global humanitarian assistance right now in an unprecedented way. “It’s truly unprecedented,” Coleman said, noting that the food crisis around the world with increased food prices is a very big global issue that is affecting humanitarian issues around the world. Coleman said they are committed to continuing their support for the Rohingya response making sure that the refugees who are here receive what they need and their basic needs are met. “It’s a priority for us.”
Another batch of 1,535 Rohingya refugees reached Bhasan Char in the 13th phase on Thursday. This took the total population of Rohingya refugees at Ashrayan Kendra in Bhasan Char to 29,116. The Rohingya men, women and children reached Bhasan Char by five naval ships in the noon, said Md Rafiqul Islam, Officer-in-Charge of Bhasan Char police station. The Rohingyas were taken to their respective clusters on arrival, he said. Read: PM vows to uplift Bangladesh to a developed nation Earlier on Wednesday the 27 buses left Ukhia Degree College campus with the Rohingya citizens and reached Patenga in Chattogram around 10 pm. Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char. Most of them fled to this country since August 25, 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a brutal offensive targeting the Muslim ethnic minorities.
As many as 1,096 Rohingyas left Ukhiya camps in Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday in the 13th phase of relocation to Bhasan Char island in Noakhali. The Rohingya men, women and children left for Chattogram from the Ukhiya Degree College field at 12pm. Read: 10 diplomats visit Bhasan Char Shamsuddauja, additional refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, said these Rohingyas are being relocated in the 13th phase and process is on to send others who will agree to go to Bhasan Char. “They are scheduled to reach Bhasan Char Wednesday afternoon,” he added. Read: UNHCR sees clear improvement of conditions, services in Bhasan Char In 12 phases, around 24,578 Rohingyas were shifted to Bhasan Char in December 2020. Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char. Most of them came since August 25, 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a brutal offensive targeting the Muslim ethnic minorities.
United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Kelly T. Clements on Friday said Bhasan Char has the potential to become a temporary stay for the Rohingya refugees. She said there has been clear improvement in the conditions and availability of services since UNHCR and UN partners began supporting the government in October. However, its sustainability will depend on scaling up health and education services, improving access to livelihoods and income generating activities, and above all, continuing to ensure the voluntariness of relocations to the island and regular family visits to and from the mainland, Clements said. With return to Myanmar unlikely in the immediate future, UNHCR has underscored the need for a more comprehensive approach to humanitarian support. This includes alternative solutions for Rohingya refugees such as resettlement to third countries for the most vulnerable with specific protection needs, and complementary pathways overseas which could include employment and educational opportunities, said the UN refugee agency. Read: 15,000 people in Cox’s Bazar receive UNHCR’s aid1
Another batch of 1,287 Rohingya refugees reached Bhasan Char in the tenth phase on Monday. Of them 65 came as visitors from Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps and 81 are residents of Bhasan Char returning after visiting their relatives, according to the media wing of Chattogram Navy. The Rohingya men, women and children left Patenga for Bhasan Char by two naval ships in the morning and reached Bhasan Char at 1:30 pm, said Moazzem Hossain, additional refugee relief and repatriation commissioner (deputy secretary) in Bhasan Char. READ: 718 more Rohingyas leave for Bhasan Char The Rohingyas were taken to their respective clusters on arrival, he said. With this, the total number of Rohingya population at the Bhasan Char reached 20,949, he said Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char. Most of them have come to this country since August 25, 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a brutal offensive targeting the Muslim ethnic minorities. READ: Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to accelerate citizenship verification of Rohingya refugees