April 06, 2022

Q&A: The aid policy ‘limbo’ on Bangladesh’s refugee island

‘We are stuck in this situation.’


This article was originally published by inews.co.uk. An excerpt has been reposted below.

Donor reluctance to fund aid on Bhasan Char, Bangladesh’s controversial island refugee camp, is preventing basic services from scaling up and leaving refugees in limbo, says the head of a leading Bangladeshi NGO.

Authorities in Bangladesh have transferred at least 24,000 Rohingya from mainland camps to the island, where aid is provided mainly by local NGOs.

The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, inked an agreement to support services on Bhasan Char in October 2021. A UN-led appeal for the Rohingya response, launched in late March, calls for about $100 million in funding for Bhasan Char – the first time these annual humanitarian plans have included the island.

Foreign donors still appear split on Bhasan Char, amid long-standing concerns that Rohingya are pressured to relocate there. The UK, for example, says it will contribute funding for the first time. The United States – the largest donor to the Rohingya response – says its funding “does not currently support Bhasan Char”.

Preventing funding from being used on Bhasan Char leaves healthcare and other services missing or severely inadequate, says Asif Saleh, the executive director of BRAC Bangladesh.

“We are stuck in this limbo,” Saleh told The New Humanitarian in an interview. “We are just not moving on.”

Read the rest of the article here.