Bangladesh intends to relocate thousands of Rohingya refugees who are ensnared on the Myanmar border to a southern island, an official said.
The Bangladeshi government has started preparations to relocate the Rohingya to Hatiya Island in Bengal, as requested by the Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina, an official from the Myanmar refugee agency Kumar Baul said.
"The relocation of the Rohingya camps will definitely take place. So far informal steps have been taken according to the PM's directives," Baul reported to AFP.
Bangladesh is currently accommodating over 30,000 Rohingya refugees who are located in camps along the southern border of Myanmar in Cox’s Bazar district.
A Rohingya leader said the move would be disastrous, exacerbating the living conditions for the Rohingya.
"We want the [Bangladeshi] government and international organisations to resolve our issue from here," Mohammad Islam, said to AFP.
Baul said the idea to relocate Rohingya was partly to do with tourism, as the camps hold off many tourists from visiting the Cox’s Bazar, a district with many hotels and beaches to lavish in.
Thousands of conflict torn migrants from both Bangladesh and Rohingya are attempting dangerous voyages on makeshift boats to Southeast Asia.
The discovery of mass graves in Southern Thailand and Northern Malaysia, in routes Rohingya escaping Myanmar take to travel to southeast Asia has prompted the government of Thailand and Malaysia to crackdown on refugees.
The plan follows Sheikh Hasina’s denouncement of Bangladeshi refugees fleeing the country in similar conditions, saying it gives the country a bad image and the migrants are “mentally sick.”