Friday, November 2, 2012

Integrated approach to Rohingya issue

The fresh outbreak of sectarian violence in the strife-torn Rakhine State of Myanmar is a matter of grave concern from whichever point of view it is seen. According to latest estimates, over 28,000 people have become homeless after more than a week of clashes between the warring communities of Rakhine and Rohingya, which witnessed death of some 90 people and gross violation of human rights. The manner in which fuel was put on the fire of violence in the name of cleansing of ‘stateless’ Rohingyas is quite unprecedented.

However, anyone would notice a conspicuous shift in the attitude of those resorting to violence and those supporting it. What started as an anti-Rohingya campaign has turned into an anti-Muslim crusade with time, with a tacit nod from the establishment and ‘a rapidly irresponsible nationalist press’. The proof is the fact that 97 per cent of the victims of the violence that broke out on 23 October are of Islamic faith. That being the case, there are little chances that violence would be stopped with a solution, if any, to the feud over the issue of ‘statelessness’.

We cannot but notice a mysterious silence of the democratic forces in Myanmar about the issue of Rohingyas, who have been denied citizenship since 1982. The country’s much-idealised transition to some semblance of democracy seems to have taken away their attention from the problem in hand: i.e. continued subjugation of a community that has every right to live by the international minority rights standards.

We express our sympathy for oppressed Muslim communities in Myanmar and urge the authorities concerned to gear all their efforts in reinstating stability before further casualties. While we do not subscribe to the Myanmar government’s view that this is an ‘internal’ affair to be dealt with internally, there is little that Bangladesh can do other than what it already did. Opening our border to the fleeing Rohingyas, as the UN high commissioner for refugees urged on Thursday, is not a viable option when the country is already overburdened with them.

We think a problem like this needs an integrated approach to work on the causes leading to communal unrest. The intelligentsia of that country can play a vital role here by raising awareness among general people.Source: here

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