MYANMAR sounding a warning against the UN Security Council — which in a statement on Monday urged the country to ensure ‘no further excessive use of military force’ and expressed ‘grave concern’ over reports of ‘human rights violations and abuses in Rakhine State’ — saying that such a UN scolding could ‘seriously harm’ Myanmar’s talks with Bangladesh over the return of 6,00,000 Rohingyas who fled military violence in Rakhine to Bangladesh is unbecoming of a state. Such an expression entails that the United Nations should sound another warning for Myanmar as the country has been at the root of a humanitarian disaster forced on the Rohingya community and Bangladesh. Yet Myanmar’s atrocious remark made about a week ago, which was well beyond bounds of good taste too and not nice diplomacy, that it was ready to begin the repatriation process of the Rohingyas and it was Bangladesh that was delaying an agreement to first get hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid money, put together with the latest remark, suggests that it is Myanmar’s ploy to find the slightest of an excuse not to proceed with the issue and wash its hands of the disaster that it has created to its political benefits.
An issue of concern remains that Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, as New Age reported on Thursday, said that the issues facing Myanmar and Bangladesh could only be resolved bilaterally. But Bangladesh — which has so far tried to resolve the issue bilaterally, in vain though, so that all the Rohingyas, more than a million who have entered Bangladesh since the early 1980s, with more than a half since this August 25, could be repatriated without fears — thinks that the United Nations must be involved in the process so that the problem of fleeing Rohingyas, which has happened continually and continuously, should not recur. Another claim of Myanmar’s that is untrue is that Suu Kyi’s office said that bilateral negotiations between the two countries, which have been proceeding ‘smoothly’ and ‘expeditiously’, could be seriously harmed by such Security Council statements. Nothing is proceeding ‘smoothly’ and ‘expeditiously.’ Myanmar has yet to agree to 10 points, including the full implementation of the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led advisory commission on Rakhine state, that Bangladesh put forth about two weeks ago. Myanmar appears, instead, to be buying time and delaying the process so that the pressure of the international community that is increasing on Myanmar dies down.
Myanmar only talks about a partial repatriation of the Rohingyas, under the 1992 framework and subject to the verification of the nationality of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh. Dhaka must ensure that not only the United Nations but others of the international community are involved in the whole of the Rohingya repatriation process, from one to the other end. It must further ensure that the 1992 framework is revised to fit in with the present-day realities and the changed context as the number of Rohingya refugees increased manifold by now. Bangladesh must step up its efforts to make sure that international forums are involved in the process so that the Rohingya repatriation becomes sustainable for all.
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