On 12th July, 2021, for the first time, United Nation’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution on ‘Human Rights Situation of Rohingya Muslim and Other Minorities in Myanmar’. The resolution was adopted anonymously without any vote taking place. Even China, who abstained from the resolution, did not want to explore the possibility of voting. The resolution acknowledges the plights of Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar and calls for peaceful dialogue and reconciliation based on mutual interests. Moreover, the resolution expresses support for Myanmar’s people and their struggle for democracy. Furthermore, the resolution expresses ‘grave concern’ over the ongoing violence in Myanmar and Rohingya Muslims and calls for proper action against the perpetrators involved.
However, the resolution also urges to establish fact finding missions and calls for understanding and solving the root causes of the Rohingya crisis. And lastly, the resolution acknowledged the ongoing trial against Myanmar at International Court of Justice (ICJ) and ongoing proceedings against individuals at International Criminal Court (ICC).
This is a historic moment for both Bangladesh and Rohingya community as this is the first time at a global stage where a consensus on Rohingya has taken place anonymously without any objection. Earlier, UN acknowledged the atrocities and brutalities faced by the Rohingya and documented the crisis as ‘Textbook Example of Ethnic Cleansing’. However, As Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body consists of 47 countries including China, India, Russia, United Kingdom and Germany, the anonymous acceptance of the resolution shows us that, the resolution overcame the geopolitical hurdles and other existing barriers successfully. Moreover, this is also the first time, where a UN body has sent a strong message against Military since the coup. Hence, the resolution is giving a ray of hope to the democratic aspiration of Myanmar nationals as well as the Rohingya. Furthermore, this decision also shows that, Rohingya issue hasn’t yet lost its attention in the global arena, thanks to Bangladesh’s diplomatic effort.
The resolution was initiated and drafted by Bangladesh with support from Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). For a while, in several stages, negotiations and diplomacy took place formally and informally to create a consensus that led to creation of the final draft. However, it is worthy to mention that, creating consensus among 47 member states on an issue is a gigantic work especially where great power rivalry, geopolitical and geo-economic interests are intertwined in a complex manner. But Bangladesh’s diplomats have gone extra miles as Rohingya issue and repatriation is one of the major agenda in Bangladesh’s foreign policy. Since the crisis of 2017, Bangladesh has explored for all possible tracks of diplomacy and negotiation to produce a sustainable solution in order to resolve the crisis for good and all. Therefore, since then, Bangladesh has given tireless diplomatic effort in Rohingya diplomacy and worked as the representative of the Rohingya in the international arena. Even, in the speech during the adoption of resolution, Bangladesh delegation reiterated the crisis and explained the urgency of resolving the crisis. Moreover, Bangladesh also pointed out the current ongoing political instabilities of Myanmar and the global demand for lifting the situation as early as possible. Furthermore, the delegation also demanded for a UN road map to solve the Rohingya crisis. Throughout the speeches, Bangladesh made it clear that, safe and secured repatriation of Rohingya to Rakhine is the only solution to the crisis.
The success of Bangladesh’s diplomatic effort is clear from the observation that, Bangladesh through her diplomacy has successfully offset the ongoing geopolitical rivalry and pandemic politics related to Myanmar especially, in the context of QUAD versus BRI stalemate. Moreover, Bangladesh also successfully pursued OIC to get on board. Again, through this anonymous adoption of resolution that favors the Rohingya totally; Bangladesh has successfully established the rights, demands and interests of Rohingya in the international arena. Hench, this resolution will be considered as a milestone in Rohingya crisis and its solution. Moreover, it also depicts that Bangladesh’s diplomacy for Rohingya crisis hasn’t gone in vain as many thought in this way in recent past. Till now, Bangladesh’s diplomatic efforts are successfully keeping the spotlight on the issue in international stage and this resolution is the ‘Hard Work Paid-off’ for Bangladesh’s diplomacy. Surely, this success will guide Bangladesh’s diplomacy in future.
*MD Mufassir Rashid, MSS in International Political Economy (Ongoing), Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh.