Bangladesh is not in a hurry to take Rohingya refugees to an island in the Bay of Bengal after the United Nations sought more details on the government's plan, which has been criticised by some human rights groups, a minister told Reuters on Monday.
Bangladesh is trying to move 100,000 of the nearly 1 million Rohingyas, who live in overcrowded camps in the south-eastern, to the remote island of Bashan Char, which has been developing for the past two years.
Reuters reported last week that the United Nations was preparing plans to help Bangladesh transport the refugees.
But in a statement on Monday, the international body called for a comprehensive assessment to ensure the feasibility of the move, saying it was discussing "fundamental protection and operational issues" before any transfer.
"We are also considering the possible practical consequences of preparing a humanitarian response on Basan Char Island, including requirements, timeframes and related costs," the statement said,
Anam al-Rahman, deputy minister of disaster management and relief, said Bangladesh was in talks with United Nations humanitarian agencies and was assessing its observations.
“There is no specific date for transportation," he said.
"We are not in a hurry and transportation will only begin when United Nations and Rohingya feel that the region is ready," he said.
"The government is working to build more shelters to cope with hurricanes on the island, which is hours away from the mainland by boat," said Anam Rahman. Many Rohingya oppose the transportation plan.
According to a UN World Food Program (WFP) document, the program has provided the Bangladesh government with detailed plans, including a timetable and budget, on how to reach the thousands of Rohingyas that will be transported within weeks.