Monday, July 16, 2012

Rohingya crisis

Monday, July 16, 2012

 Pushing them out is not the answer

The Myanmar president is expected to visit Bangladesh soon which we welcome most enthusiastically. This paper and, we feel the people of Bangladesh, are fully committed to the best of relations between our two countries, However, it would be an unforgivable act of betrayal of our national interest if we did not put the recent comments of the Myanmar president regarding the Rohingyas in his country in the proper perspective. 

Myanmar president's view, expressed recently to the visiting chief of the UNHCR, that the only solution to the Rohingya issue was deporting them to a third country, is not only alarming for Bangladesh and all those countries that root for the just and fair treatment of minorities in their own countries, but also a warning for the rest of the world that it was about time that the issue received due recognition from the world community.

We are constrained to say that these comments, along with the Myanmar president's remark that Rohingyas were not welcome in his country, are denial of history and abnegation of the country's commitment to take back all those Rohingyas who were forced to flee Myanmar and seek shelter in Bangladesh. Given the fact that nearly 3,00,000 Rohingyas have returned to Myanmar so far, the idea of deporting them to a third country smacks of a dubious plan to cleanse the area of Muslims in the Rakhine State and that the recent instance of violence was perhaps not spontaneous but engineered to create a situation to force these people to leave. The idea of a refugee camp for these people is equally preposterous. The Rohingyas were deprived of their citizenship in 1982, whereas they have been living in this part of Myanmar for centuries.

The Rohingya problem is a problem for Bangladesh too, and our government must make it clear to Myanmar that the solution is not in deporting the Rohingyas but in giving them due recognition as an ethnic entity and integrating them with the rest of nation.

Source: The Daily Star

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