What Should Be Bangladesh’s ‘Myanmar Policy’? – OpEd


Bangladesh and Myanmar have been discussing a pilot project for the past two years to repatriate just over 1,000 Rohingya out of a million Rohingya. But suddenly Myanmar became active in this matter for the last one month. A tripartite meeting was arranged in Kunming with the help of the country’s ‘genuine friend’ China, which was attended by Foreign Secretary Masoud Bin Momen this month. All parties want to start the implementation of the pilot project before monsoon. According to experts and former diplomats, Myanmar will have to submit a counter-memorial to the International Court of Justice on May 24 regarding the Rohingya genocide. The country wants to lighten the responsibility and justice by mentioning the issue of repatriation in that document.

The Rohingya will be afraid to return if the military and civilians involved in the Rohingya genocide are not held accountable and brought to justice. For this reason, it has been emphasized on providing all-out assistance to Bangladesh in the ongoing cases in the international court. If Bangladesh shows reluctance in international cases at the instigation of China or any other country, it will be very harmful for the country.

Myanmar is now under various pressures. At the moment, if the repatriation happens, it will go in favor of Myanmar. Intensifying full pressure on Myanmar can help solve the crisis. Bangladesh must pursue the Myanmar policy carefully at this moment. Myanmar must not betray with Bangladesh. 

What is China’s role in the Rohingya issue and why Myanmar wants to repatriate now should be analyzed, We want the Rohingyas to go back to Rakhine. But we have to keep in mind what is the future of the ongoing cases in the international court. China’s goodwill would be most welcome. 

Regarding the pilot project of repatriation of Rohingyas, there are still many Rohingyas inside Myanmar, who are in IDP camps. The Rohingyas in Bangladesh will regain more confidence if they are resettled in their villages through the pilot project.

The Rohingyas will not be interested in returning unless those involved in the genocide are punished.

It is not possible for Bangladesh and Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya issue bilaterally if Myanmar betrayes with Bangladesh this time,  for which a direction from the International Court will be required.

Bangladesh’s reluctance to show reluctance in the ongoing cases at the International Court would amount to ‘suicide’.  ‘creating an atmosphere for repatriation without ensuring accountability will go in favor of Myanmar.’

With regard to Beijing’s mediation, China has yet to create an example that could be seen as maintaining a neutral stance. China has always been Myanmar’s big friend and still is. Bangladesh must ask for full Chinese assurance and guarantee in this regard.

It is sad that the international community has not stood by Bangladesh in solving the Rohingya problem.” What is needed now is the political will from the international community to ensure accountability and punishment of the guilty.’

It should be noted that on August 25, 2017, Myanmar military forces massacred the Rohingyas. Then eight lakh Rohingya fled to Bangladesh to save their lives. In 2019, Gambia filed a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice regarding the Rohingya genocide.

Harunur Rasid is a London-based Bangladeshi expatriate who is a Bangladesh and Myanmar affairs observer, analyst, and researcher.

One thought on “What Should Be Bangladesh’s ‘Myanmar Policy’? – OpEd

  • April 24, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    Hello Mr. Harun,

    Thanks for your write-up! I am a journalist and have kept my eyes open on Rohingya issue.

    Thank again!
    Shahid Mobasher


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