Bangladesh wants sustainable solution to Rohingya crisis

Published : 28 Feb 2023 09:05 PM

“Rohingya” are class of ethnic minority group of people who are historically the indigenous dwellers of Myanmar Rakhine  state. The orthodox Myanmar Buddhist for eternity considered the Rohingya minority as illegal migrants so this animosity towards them entailed into horrendous bloodbath as state sponsored Buddhist militia engaged in religious persecution and subsequently which ended into “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya, a term which is often synonymous with genocide. 

The international community was disconcerted and wanted justice for the tormented Rohingya community. So Gambia intervened this humanitarian crisis on the basis of “obligation erga omnes” blaming the Myanmar State for violating Genocide convention and filed a case under International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the year of 2019. CJ based on the merit of the case pronounced “procedural orders” which included immediate halt of all atrocities against the Rohingya people by the Myanmar state.

Extreme persecution which took its peak during August 2017 compelled the Rohingyas to seek refuge and flock to the nearby Bangladesh. This protracted violence against Rohingya saw influx of 1.1 million refugee to seek shelter in Bangladesh. Despite encountering massive socio-economic and societal and criminal plight our government did a commendable job to accommodate the incoming Rohingyas. 

Our government being a pioneer in terms of hosting Rohingya refugees, successfully implemented a crucial humanitarian and customary international law principle of “Non-Refoulement” as per article 33 of the Refugee Convention 1951 which makes it incumbent on the state party to not refuse entry and return them to their country of origin. This noble initiative by Bangladesh led to the creation of 34 large scale camps located in Ukhiya and Teknaf of Cox Bazar district which is as of October 2022 projection by OCHA (United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs) housing approximately 943,000 stateless Rohingyas. 

But when it comes to managing such juggernaut population cramped inside congested camps are realistically putting our country into serious detriment. Bangladesh can’t provide sustenance nor refuge to this ginormous population on it’s own. The international community must engage in burden sharing to aid our country to tackle the Rohingya issue efficiently. Recently the JRP plan (Joint Response Plan) a mult-nation co-operative aid towards the Rohingya community proposed 881 million dollar in humanitarian aid but in reality less than half of the JRP asid was disbursed. Although WFP (World Food Program) is appealing to the international community to raise 125 million for the disadvantaged Rohingyas. The WFP aid is way less than what JRP appeal proposed for the Ronhingyas. Indirectly the lack of foreign aid would put serious strain on our national economy which seems to be unavoidable at this point. 

Sadly due to the advent of Russia-Ukraine International Armed Conflict (IAC) , the international community’s attention has been diverted to Europe which has left the Rohingya crisis in a unending limbo. Moreover the unbridled Rohingyas in the local camps desperate for sustenance are slowly getting indulged with the criminal underworld. Internal crime gangs including ARSA are always active and committing gang related violence such as smuggling narcotics , extremism , terrorism and doing all sorts of nefarious crimes on a regular basis. Our law enforcement relentlessly exerting to put a stop to these activities but these are proving to be perilous for our Government day by day.

It is envisaged by the Ministry of Defense of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh that within 2025 the Rohingya population would hike upto 1.2-1.3 million. So faced with numerous perils surrounding the Rohingya population our government must frame sustainable solution to this already dwindling crisis. Fortunately our government has already taken relocation initiatives in Bhasan Char and as of year 2020 approximately 20,000 voluntary Rohingyas were transferred peacefully according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). But relocation won’t be adequate. Repatriation along with rehabilitation and integration of the Rohingyas are the only recourse to this gigantic issue our country now encounters. 

Luckily our Ministry of Foreign affairs are relentlessly seeking world powers diplomatic intervention to this crisis. With the active supervision of international organizations and developed countries e.g China , US and EU nations , Myanmar has decided to reintegrate the persecuted Rohingya based on nationality verifications where the repatriated Rohingyas would be known as “Bengali Foreigners” . 

International community must aid Bangladesh to fully resolve Rohingya crisis. With the utmost welfare of the Rohingyas in mind, reciprocal initiatives combining both the international organizations, NGO’s and efforts from our Government are indispensable to ensure sustainable and efficient solutions to this massive crisis which shall in parallel inculcate both humanitarian interventions and diplomacy.

Samiur Rahman completed LL.M and LL.B (Hons) from 

Jagannath University