ISSN 2330-717X

Rohingya Crisis: Avoid Double Standard, Work For Dignified Repatriation – OpEd

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Bangladesh reiterated her call for the global assistance to ensure dignified and peaceful repatriation of forcibly displaced Rohingya refugees in the IX Moscow Conference on International Security being held from June 22 on virtual platform. The country is now hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingya refugees over the last four years since the 2017 military crackdown by the Tatmadaw. The February coup of Myanmar military has also contributed to the complexities of the Rohingya crisis. The international community seems to be screaming for a solution to the Rohingya problem but in reality, they are taking interest-centric moves regarding the massive humanitarian crisis.

Experts argue that European Union (EU) nations are maintaining a “double standard on the Rohingya crisis, despite making commitments and preaching a strong stance on human rights”, said during a virtual dialogue arranged by PEN Bangladesh on the eve of the International Refugee Day. At the same time, countries like China, Russia, India and Japan, who can play an important role in solving the crisis, are engaging more with the military regime of the government which decreases the probability of the solution. The stance in favor of Myanmar in the UN actually proves that the Rohingya crisis is not a cup of tea for those nations. When they talk with Bangladesh, they show their utmost concern for the international humanitarian crisis of the Rohingya FDMNs. But in practice, they are actively engaged with the Myanmar military regime as well as relatively silent on the Rohingya crisis in the international platforms. The savior of international peace and stability, the UN is always calling for renouncing trade relations with the Myanmar regime.

In the last UN resolution on June 19, 119 states voted in favor of condemning Myanmar’s military junta and urging UN member states not to sell arms to them. But surprisingly, the Rohingya issue has been ignored in the resolution that disappointed Bangladesh and thus, the country was abstained in the voting. Rabab Fatima, Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the United Nations, rightly told the General Assembly that any proposal on Myanmar would remain “incomplete” unless the root cause of the Rohingya crisis was acknowledged and specific recommendations were made. The world community is ignoring the Rohingya issue and avoiding their responsibility, unlike the way Bangladesh has given shelter to 1.1 million Rohingyas. India and China have always sided with Myanmar because of their geopolitical interests. Russia has sought to develop ties with the junta, reported South China Morning Post after the visit of Min Aung Hlaing to Russia for a three-day international security conference. Besides, a Russian deputy defense minister in March joined an annual parade showcasing Myanmar’s military prowess, including Russian-made jets, tanks and helicopters.

The Rohingya crisis is one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of the present time that needs concerted action of all international players avoiding politicization and double standard of the crisis. Bangladesh is one of the worst victims of the Rohingya crisis, although it doesn’t have any contribution to the phenomenon. A trend of pressurizing Bangladesh to ensure the livelihood opportunities and education facilities of the Rohingya FDMNs has been impelled by some international NGOs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Refugee International. It is really pathetic that rather than pressurizing Myanmar to take back their nationals, they are pressurizing Bangladesh through naming and shaming. The international community must play a proactive role in repatriating the massive burden of Rohingya FDMNs through creating an environment for safe and dignified return. At least they need to press Myanmar for creating a safe haven in the Rakhine state until a parament solution i.e. amendment of 1982 constitution is issued; otherwise, the Rohingya crisis will pose a severe threat to ensure peace and security.

To be specific, it is recommended to avoid the double standard of the international community, renouncing relations with Myanmar following the recommendation of the UN, creating safe havens within Myanmar through adequately pressurizing the Myanmar government (whether it is NLD, Military regime or the newly formed NUG in power). 

*Shaikh Abdur Rahman, Independent Researcher, MSS and BSS (Hons.), Department of International Relations, University of Rajshahi. He can be reached at- [email protected]

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