More than 1,600 Rohingya refugees were transported from Bangladesh's southern port of Chittagong for the remote island of Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal on Friday, despite numerous protests against this decision.
Bus to ship
The refugees were transported in a bus to Chittagong district from a refugee camp for the first mass relocation of refugees to an island, in Ukhia on December 3, 2020.
The refugees were made to board a Bangladesh Navy ship to be transported, reportedly voluntarily. They were made to queue up and were then transported through a ship with little or no social distancing amid the fears of another massive outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Some officials have claimed the refugees being transported are only the ones who were willing to be shifted and the decision was taken simply to solve the problem of overcrowding.
Prone to cyclones
The place where the refugees are being transported to is a low-lying island in an area prone to cyclones and floods, with rights groups alleging people were being coerced into leaving.
Relatives of Rohingya refugees gathered outside the transit camp a day before the start of the first mass relocation of refugees. The families have alleged that the transfer of refugees has not been voluntarily, as opposed to what is being claimed by the authorities.