The Rohingya issue is currently an important international issue. More than 1.1 million Rohingyas have taken refuge in Bangladesh since August 2017 due to genocide and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. About 50,000 newborn Rohingya children are added to it every year.
Earlier, the Rohingya had been subjected to systematic discrimination, deprivation of the right to vote, and regular targeting of violence in Myanmar for decades.
Rohingyas are fleeing Myanmar to save their lives after being subjected to extremely inhumane treatment by the military; But their position in the country has become a cause for concern as they are involved in migration, drug trafficking, child trafficking, smuggling, and other misdeeds as Bangladeshis. Again, some of the Rohingyas have been accused of being involved in militant activities and the Ramu attack.
According to various sources, there are about four lakh Rohingyas inside Bangladesh and about one lakh outside the country, especially in the Middle East. Moreover, there are reports that underage women and children in various camps in Cox’s Bazar are being tied to an important social bond such as marriage; Which is having a hugely detrimental effect on the society and the state system. Child marriage is a threat to the health of the mother as well as the health of the child. It has far-reaching detrimental effects on women. Adolescent pregnancy can lead to a variety of health problems, including complications in childbirth. In some cases, they are also victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and marital rape. In addition, increasing population density is having a devastating effect on the environment.
In the last four and a half years, despite various initiatives, no real progress has been made in resolving the Rohingya crisis. Under pressure from the international community, the Myanmar government signed an agreement on Rohingya repatriation, but to no avail. According to the agreement, the Rohingyas were to be repatriated in stages. The repatriation process has not started for a long time. The Myanmar government has failed to repatriate the displaced Rohingya and resolve the crisis. Bangladesh has repeatedly urged various international forums to take effective steps to resolve the Rohingya crisis. At the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina not only ended her duty by calling on the international community to repatriate Rohingya but also presented six specific proposals. The Prime Minister also raised the issue during his recent visit to France. In such a situation, the UN committee has unanimously passed a resolution urging Myanmar to end the Rohingya crisis. Most importantly, Russia and China did not oppose the proposal. The resolution, introduced by the OIC and the European Union, was unanimously passed by the Social Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, known as the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly. Foreign Minister in response to the proposal. Abdul Momen considers the support of Russia and China important. He said China and Russia also want a solution to the Rohingya problem. This is positive news for us.
The proposal is based on the human rights situation of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in the context of the state of emergency in Myanmar. Top politicians were arrested after a military coup overthrew a democratic government in the country on February 1 and declared a state of emergency. Political unrest, protests and clashes are going on in the country. Thousands of people have lost their lives in the repression of the army. Whatever the context, the unanimous resolution adopted by the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly is very important for Bangladesh. 108 countries have supported it. The proposal calls for finding out the root cause of the Rohingya problem. At the same time, it has been said that the implementation of the bilateral agreement signed by Myanmar with Bangladesh. The resolution, with a number of guidelines for the introduction of democratic governance, called on all human rights organizations, including the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, to cooperate.
On the issue, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Rabab Fatima said, “This is the first time that the Rohingya resolution has been unanimously adopted by the UN. This reflects the strong commitment of the international community to resolve the crisis. It will inspire new hope in the minds of the displaced Rohingyas. ‘ Rohingyas have become a serious threat to the security of Bangladesh. According to the Foreign Minister, the passage of the proposal would put pressure on Myanmar to repatriate the Rohingya. Our hope is that the Rohingya repatriation process will begin soon under this pressure. Bangladesh will also be free from this deadly crisis.
A resolution presented by the OIC and the EU on the protection of the Rohingya was unanimously adopted by the United Nations just recently. This is the first time since the crisis began in 2017 that a resolution on the Rohingya has been unanimously adopted by the United Nations. Observers say the UN recognition is a reflection of the international community’s strong commitment to resolving the crisis. In addition to the EU and OIC, the resolution is supported and co-sponsored by a large number of countries in various geographical regions, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Japan, and South Korea.
The resolution primarily focuses on the human rights situation in Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim and other minority communities, as well as the context in which the country declared a state of emergency on February 1. The resolution called on Myanmar to find out the root causes of the Rohingya problem, fulfill the obligations of the bilateral agreement signed with Bangladesh, and extend full cooperation to all human rights organizations, including the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Myanmar. At present 11 lakh Rohingyas are sheltered in Bangladesh.
The world community has been expressing solidarity with Bangladesh for the shelter of Rohingyas for humanitarian reasons and urging for repatriation of Rohingyas. Myanmar authorities have agreed to repatriate Rohingya in the face of international pressure. They did not take back the Rohingyas even after two rounds of time. In this situation, as part of regular diplomacy, Bangladesh has raised the issue of the Rohingya crisis in various forums of the world, but everyone is listening quietly, no response or action is seen. Citizens of neighboring Myanmar have been given asylum in Bangladesh for humanitarian reasons. The extra responsibility of this huge number of people is definitely a big burden for Bangladesh. The frustration of the Rohingya is intensifying due to the lack of progress on repatriation, which is creating various security concerns and instability in the region.
There have already been killings in Rohingya camps. Social ills like theft-robbery-robbery are on the rise. The administration has to always be in control of the law-and-order situation in the camps. We hope that this crisis will be resolved soon. A political solution to the Rohingya issue is essential for lasting peace, stability, and security in the region. Our bilateral relations with Myanmar are deteriorating due to non-repatriation. The regional crisis is also growing. The locals are suffering from various problems due to Rohingyas. The only way to resolve the crisis is to send the Rohingya back to Myanmar as soon as possible.
But unfortunately, this initiative is not working. Only pressure from the international community can force Myanmar to repatriate the displaced Rohingya. The diplomatic process with the international community needs to be restarted to put strong pressure on Myanmar to start repatriation.
*Jubeda Chowdhury is a freelance writer with a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Dhaka.