DHAKA, Bangladesh 

Japan will release a $10-million emergency fund for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and their host communities, a statement issued by the country’s embassy in Dhaka said Thursday.

“This Emergency Grant Aid is to provide 5 million US dollars to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), 4.3 million US dollars to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and 0.7 million US dollars to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for humanitarian assistance,” the statement said.

More than 1.2 million Rohingya refugees live in Bangladesh’s southern district of Cox’s Bazar in cramped camps.

A vast majority of them fled a brutal crackdown in August 2017 by Myanmar’s military in their hometown, the western Rakhine state.

So far, Japan has contributed $155 million for humanitarian assistance of these refugees.

EU diplomats

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said that European diplomats will visit Bangladesh’s remote island of Bhasan Char where 100,000 Rohingya refugees are being shifted from the mainland camp.

This will be the second tour of overseas diplomats to the island in the Bay of Bengal, after the ongoing visit of the United Nations’ team.

However, Momen did not specify any date for the visit.

The UN office in Dhaka said in a statement Wednesday their three-day visit will look at the current situation and facilities on the island.

UN and other rights defenders have been opposing the relocation on safety grounds, urging Bangladeshi authorities to halt the process until a full-fledged feasibility study is conducted on the island prone to natural disaster.

Bangladesh, however, has gone ahead with the construction of 1,400 houses raised four feet above the ground, claiming the island is safe for living.

The silt island located 50 kilometers (31 miles) off Bangladesh’s southwestern coast and nearly 193 km (120 mi) south of the capital Dhaka, came to existence only two decades ago and before the Rohingya project there was no human habitation. Human Rights Watch has termed the relocation as the “world’s first island prison.”

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