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Thousands of Rohingya protest at Bhashan Char

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Thousands of Rohingya protest at Bhashan Char:


Several thousand Rohingya recently staged “unruly” protests against living conditions on Bhashan Char- a cyclone-prone island off Bangladesh.

What’s the issue?

Since December, Bangladesh has shifted 18,000 refugees to the low-lying silt island of Bhashan Char from the mainland Bangladesh, where around 8,50,000 people live in squalid and cramped conditions.

What’s the main concern now?

Bhasan Char (Floating Island) also known as Char Piya or Thengar Char Island, is an island in Hatiya, Bangladesh.

  • The island was formed from a build-up of silt in the Bay of Bengal only 20 years ago, and concerns have been consistently raised about Bhasan Char’s exposure to extreme weather and distance from the mainland in emergencies.


Who are Rohingyas?

  • They are an Ethnic group, mostly Muslims. They were not granted full citizenship by Myanmar.
  • They are, basically, stateless, Indo-Aryan ethnic group who reside in Rakhine State, Myanmar.
  • There were an estimated 1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar before the 2016–17 crisis. An estimated 625,000 refugees from Rakhine, Myanmar, had crossed the border into Bangladesh since August 2017.

Described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as “one of, if not the, most discriminated people in the world”.

Protection available to Rohingyas under the International Conventions:

  1. The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol:

They define the term ‘refugee’ and outlines the rights of refugees, as well as the legal obligations of States to protect them.

  • The core principle is non-refoulement, which asserts that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.
  • However, the concern now is that Bangladesh is not a signatory to this convention.
  1. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR):

Even though the refugees are foreigners in the country of asylum, by virtue of Article 2 of the ICCPR, 1966, they could enjoy the same fundamental rights and freedoms as nationals- the right to equality before the law, equal protection of the law and non-discrimination.



Insta Curious:

  1. Know about some of the important refugee crisis across the world. Read here, 
  2. Can India Turn the Rohingya Crisis’ Tide? Read here,
  3. Do you know the difference between Refugee & Migrant? & Are Migrants entitled to Protection? Read here



Prelims Link:

  1. Who are Rohingyas?
  2. Location of Rakhine State.
  3. ICJ vs International Criminal Court.
  4. About the ICCPR.
  5. About the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Rohingya Crisis.

Sources: the Hindu.