ROHINGYA influx from Myanmar into Bangladesh has not stopped. They still keep coming, fleeing military persecution and intimidation in Rakhine State, to safety into Bangladesh, at a reduced rate though. About 190 Rohingyas are reported to have entered Bangladesh in August so far, taking the total number of Rohingyas coming in 2018 to 13,000, adding up to 7,20,000 since the latest spate of persecution began in Rakhine on August 25. 2017. All this has added up to more than 1.1 million Rohingyas in Bangladesh, the rest of whom have entered the country at different times since the late 1970s. The situation suggests that there have been little effective efforts, on part of the Bangladesh government, on part of regional powers and on part of the world community, to force the Myanmar government to create a situation for voluntary, safe and sustainable return of the members of the now most-persecuted community of the world. While Bangladesh’s efforts to send back the Rohingyas have not yielded any significant results, Myanmar, which has till date continued intimidating the Rohingyas by way of rape, killing and persecution, has, in some way or the other, often been coming up with excuses to delay the repatriation process.
Although Myanmar has signed several agreements with Bangladesh on the repatriation of the Rohingyas and has given assurance that it would work to stop any fresh exodus of the Rohingyas from Myanmar, it has continued repressing relations of the Rohingyas still living in Rakhine, keeping them starved and locking them out from economic life, making it difficult for them to keep living there. Myanmar has persecuted the Rohingyas, forcing them to flee to Bangladesh, and has several times blamed the Bangladesh authorities for its failure to send the Rohingyas back, citing reasons that beat logic. Myanmar has also used its clout, political and strategic, to have a few members of the UN Security Council, in exchange for their business interest, to vote against taking any resolution against Rohingya repression and on the condemnation of Myanmar. The world community has continued demanding separate investigations by the United Nations and the International Criminal Court but the issues could not get going much so far. On top of all this, there has been a lack of trust of the Rohingyas in the Myanmar government’s action and statements. From what they have experienced and from what they have heard from their relations still living in Rakhine, they fear that they could be living in a fearful situation if they went back to Myanmar.
A situation like this warrants that Bangladesh, regional powers and forums and the world community, which include the United Nations, should step up their efforts for a safe, sustainable and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingyas. They all have a role to play in the process of Rohingya repatriation and in ensuring a safe, sustainable environment for their living in Rakhine. The United Nations has termed the persecution of the Rohingyas as ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’. It is now the United Nations, along with all, that should act on the issue to prove worth.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Editorial