UN investigator fears ‘new crisis’ if 23,000 Rohingya moved to Bangladesh island

A United Nations human rights investigator on Myanmar has voiced concern over Bangladesh’s plan to relocate 23,000 Rohingya refugees in April to a remote island, saying it could create a potential “new crisis.” Bangladesh says moving refugees to Bhasan Char, which means “floating island,” will ease overcrowding in its camps at Cox’s Bazar, which hold some 730,000 Rohingya. The UN says the Muslim minority have been fleeing an army crackdown in Rakhine state since August 2017. “There are a number of things that remain unknown to me… chief among them being whether the island is truly habitable,” Reuters quoted Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on Myanmar, who visited the island in January, as saying. Lee, who is banned by Myanmar’s government from visiting, said that up to 10,000 civilians were reported to have fled their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state since November due to violence and a lack of humanitarian aid.