Rohingya crisis

A threat to regional security


A peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis is a must as the Rohingyas are continuing to engage in various crimes, fueling concerns over security and safety of Bangladesh, experts say. The crisis is translating into a festering boil for Bangladesh. If the burning issue is left unresolved, the crisis can destabilise the county and the entire region as well, they added.

Bangladesh government has continued seeking the international community’s support to put tremendous pressure on the Myanmar government to take back its nationals from here. President Md Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen have been holding a series of meetings with their respective counterparts over the last one year and 10 months, to resolve the issue.

Countries like neighbouring India, China, USA, Europe, Australia, Canada as well as the United Nations also assured Bangladesh of proving all sort of supports in order to force the Myanmar government to take their nationals back to their homeland. But all initiatives are going in vain, the experts observed. On the other hand, Rohingyas are still fleeing their homes, and Myanmar is laying mines to obstruct those wanting to return.

Even on Thursday, Rohingyas were seen fleeing their homes to save themselves from forced starvation and deprivation of livelihood. Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district. Most of them have arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar termed as “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by the UN.

Meanwhile, with uncertainty looming large over the Rohingya repatriation, crimes -- from petty thefts to drug peddling, abduction to murder -- have become commonplace at the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. On the other hand, the Rohingyas who took shelter in the country’s Cox’s Bazaar district are now living in a state of panic as many of them are also engaged in various clashes, violence, killing and rape.

Over 40 people have been killed allegedly by fellow Rohingyas in the camps, while many others abducted for ransom since August 2017, when the country saw the influx of more than 700,000 Rohingyas, who fled atrocities in Myanmar. Contacted, security expert Major General (retd) Abdur Rashid on Friday said, Asia is facing issues like violent extremism, international terrorism, forced migration, among others, which go beyond borders.

“As it is of geographical interest, a vested quarter at home and abroad is always active to keep the crisis alive to get benefit. And the crisis is not only for Bangladesh. If the crisis is not resolved peacefully, the situation will take a serious turn,” he said. The security expert added, a restive situation will be created in the country, if the Myanmar government does not take back its nationals immediately. “We will have to continue to put tremendous pressure on Myanmar.

Asian security is vulnerable as irregular migration, drug trafficking, territorial claims, ethnic conflicts, separatism, economic problems and climate change are visible here. The Rohingyas are now spreading to different places of the country,” he added. He said, the Rohingya crisis will also spread to different countries.
“Bangladesh Army, Border Guards Bangladesh, police and different law enforcement agencies are working for the Rohingyas. As a result, Bangladesh is spending huge government money for them,” Abdur Rashid said.

Rashid said, many Rohingya introducing themselves as Bangladeshis are managing passports and going abroad. “After going abroad, the Rohingyas are getting engaged in various criminal activities there, tarnishing the image of Bangladesh,” he said. Besides, he said Cox’s Bazar sea beach, an important tourism spot in Bangladesh will also be affected.

“The major source of Cox's Bazar economy is tourism. Millions of foreigners and Bangladeshis visit this city every year. Around 500 hotels and guest houses in the district are dependent on tourism. If the Rohingya crisis is not resolved, it will be also a big blow for the tourist spot,” he said. A large number of Rohingyas are now roaming different upazilas of Cox's Bazar districts like Chakaria, Cox's Bazar Sadar, Kutubdia, Moheshkhali, Pekua, Ramu, Teknaf and Ukhia.

Meanwhile, a large number of Rohingyas involved in Yaba trading are quite organised and ruthless. They have their spies everywhere. As a result, common Rohingyas are too scared to speak up. As Yaba is coming from Myanmar and other neighbouring countries through a long border stretching 90 to 100 kilometres, Rohingyas along with Bangladeshi drug peddlers travel every day by boat and some of them also carry Yaba in their stomach, along with vegetable supplies.