A delegation of 10 High Commissioners and Ambassadors based in Dhaka on Saturday visited Bhasan Char to inspect various facilities and the condition of Rohingyas relocated in the island.
The group includes Canadian High Commissioner Benoit Prefontaine, Ambassador and the Head of Delegation at the European Union Rensje Teerink, German Ambassador Peter Fahrenholtz, Dutch Ambassador Hendrikus GJ (Harry) Verweij, US Ambassador Earl R Miller, UK High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson, French Ambassador Jean-Marin SCHUH, Japanese Ambassador Naoki Ito, Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Osman Turan and Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer.
On this occasion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised a day-long trip as part of the government's engagement with the international community including the United Nations on the relocation of Rohingyas from Cox's Bazar to Bhasan Char,
The objective of the visit was to provide the Ambassadors with an opportunity to witness the massive development and humanitarian projects undertaken by the Government of Bangladesh in Bhasan Char.
During the tour, the group had the chance to visit different infrastructures including embankments, buildings, shelters, other facilities and amenities available on the island.
The group visited several capacity-building projects such as sewing, handicrafts making etc, the skills that the Rohingyas would be able to utilize on their return to Myanmar.
The Ambassadors freely interacted with the Rohingya representatives and shared their thoughts and hopes. During the interactions, the Rohingyas profusely thanked the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Government of Bangladesh for the exemplary humanitarian support that have been extended to the Rohingyas since the mass exodus.
At the same time, they expressed their willingness to return to their homeland in Myanmar. "I want my children to grow with their own national identity in their own country," a Rohingya representative stated. The Rohingyas conveyed their high satisfaction over the existing facilities in Bhasan Char, which they considered safe, secured crime-free compared to the congested camps in Cox's Bazar.
Some Rohingyas underscored the need to expand learning facilities for children and provide them opportunities for farming and fishing which would help in keeping them active. The group of Ambassadors spent some time with the Rohingya children in an informal learning center.
This was the first-ever visit to Bhashanchar by foreign Heads of Missions. The trip was preceded by a UN team's visit from 17-20 March 2021. Earlier a team, led by the Assistant Secretary General of the OIC went to Bhashan Char.
Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) Masud Bin Momen, Secretary M/o Disaster Management and Relief Md Mohsin, Secretary Maritime Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Rear Admiral (Retd.) Md Khurshed Alam, RRRC Shah Rezwan Hayat and other senior officials of the Government accompanied the team.
The relocation of Rohingyas started from 4 December 2020 in alignment with the GOB's overall efforts towards repatriation. So far 18,334 Rohingyas have been relocated to Bhasan Char. The Government has a plan to relocate, in phases, 100,000 Rohingyas to the island.