The Asian Voice

Rohingya refugee crisis needs prompt, thorough solution: Jakarta Post contributor

The writer says a prompt and thorough solution is necessary to guarantee that human rights take precedence over all other considerations.

A Rohingya refugee carries a gas cylinder at a makeshift camp in Kutubpalang, Ukhiya, Cox Bazar district, Bangladesh, on Aug 25, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

DHAKA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Our attention was drawn to a recent news story on statements made by notable people and international organisations on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Rohingya catastrophe.

Reiterating their assurances, they all essentially stated that they will "continue efforts to find a durable solution to solve the man-made humanitarian disaster". A deadly military campaign that began in Rakhine, Myanmar, on Aug 25, 2017, forced almost a million displaced Rohingyas to seek sanctuary in Bangladesh. Since then, thousands of babies have been born, bringing the total to more than 1.2 million.

However, in practice, Bangladesh, which already has a population of 17 million, constantly faces challenges in feeding and housing more than a million refugees, particularly in the post-pandemic world. Additionally, harming the nation's economy, ecology, neighbourhood, and social order, the humanitarian crisis is causing unneeded instability and uncertainty.

Meanwhile, numerous Rohingyas are apparently involved in drug trade, trafficking in children and women, and numerous other antisocial activities, raising our deep concern. Almost all of the issues relating to the Rohingyas' presence in Bangladesh have already been debated on various international forums and platforms, but the issue of their swift and safe return to their motherland continues to be elusive.

And in these five years, it has become abundantly evident that Myanmar is far from committed to returning the displaced Rohingya from Bangladesh. We consider Myanmar's resistance to returning Rohingyas to their home country to be a flagrant violation of both international law and human rights.

Even still, if the international community had put pressure on Myanmar, the problem might have been resolved. Unfortunately, their blatantly contradictory posture and purposeful delay in this matter-whether motivated by economic interests or geopolitical objectives with Myanmar-not only allowed the country to sneak up on Bangladesh diplomatically and politically, but also sent a very bad signal.

Simply because of its promise to humanity, Bangladesh was obligated to provide shelter to such a sizeable number of Rohingya people. The question of how long Bangladesh would remain a victim of a pernicious ethnic cleansing operation that took place in another nation immediately arises. It is merely calculating the cost of the crime against humanity committed by the Myanmar army in forcing its own civilians to flee.

Despite all the difficulties and flaws, the international community's reaffirmation of the repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas on the occasion of the crisis' fifth anniversary is still encouraging. But elegant words don't butter parsnips.

We anticipate that the international community will swiftly carry out its promises by stepping up its operations against Myanmar. It serves no use to keep the problem going. To guarantee that human rights take precedence over all other considerations, a prompt and thorough solution is also essential.

  • The writer is a Dhaka-based columnist and woman and human rights activist. The Daily Star is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 22 news media organisations.

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