Bangladesh solution to the Rohingya Muslim crisis, ship thousands of them to muddy and remote Thengar Char Island, way out in the Bay of Bengal. Tens of thousands of refugees have poured over the border from Myanmar since October to escape scowler and an army crackdown on insurgents.
Joining them more than 200,000 Rohingya already living in Bangladeshi camps. Reuters' Antoni Slodkowski visited the island escorted by armed coast guard, and it wasn't what you call hospitable.>> It's completely empty. There is no hospital here. There is no school here. There is no house here. No one lives here.
It's an empty sort of flat land that gets flooded by water during the monsoon season, and where pirates roam around. They actually rob the local fishermen. So this place is very far from developing any sort of conditions where people could actually live.>> The same plan was first proposed two year ago and drew harsh criticism.
Experts maintain the island solution is unrealistic. However, conditions for Rohingya on the mainland are basic at best.>> They are crowded around registered camps of Rohingya refugees from the previous Waves many years ago. But then you also have tens of thousands of people living around those camps and in other places, in makeshift settlements, in squalid huts, in very tough conditions.
Many of them without food, without water, without proper access to healthcare and education and an ability to develop their skills or learn anything. They're basically surviving.>> Bangladesh says the refugees bring crime and risk of disease. One minister told Reuters this week they were determined to push ahead with the plan, saying they provide shelters and live stock.
Local officials hadn't been informed of anything. Rohingya refugees Reuters spoke to said they didn't wanna stay in camps, but they didn't wanna go to the island either. If their safety was guaranteed, they would rather be citizens of Myanmar, where they call home.