During a recent phone call with Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Simon Coveney Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul has rightly said that Rohingya situation has become untenable for Bangladesh.
Dr Momen informed Coveney that till date Myanmar had not taken a single Rohingyas back and urged EU countries to exert more pressure on Naypyitaw so that it takes its nationals back.
Bangladesh is lauded for its willingness to keep its borders open and welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees with open arms. But the situation in Cox’s Bazaar- where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are living has gone from bad to worse. Are we paying the price for being responsive and responsible in showing empathy to a persecuted minority population of a neighboring country?
The international community, which has failed so far to put adequate pressure on the military junta in Myanmar to take their citizens back, should realise the dangerous effect of prolonged internment in camps. Bangladesh expects a more vigorous role of the international community in the diplomatic front to make Myanmar take back the Rohingyas.
Are we paying the price for being responsive and
responsible in showing empathy to a persecuted
minority population of a neighboring country?
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.2 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and one of the consequences of hosting such a large number of refugees in such a small area is the deep negative imprint on the local people as well as the environment.
That is where the need for a longer term, sustainable solution for the area comes, one which secures the safety and livelihoods of both those Rohingya people in fear for their lives, and the hosts who have given them sanctuary.
It needs no emphasising that Bangladesh wants to resolve the Rohingya issue through peaceful negotiation, and the country expects similar reciprocity from Myanmar and international community.
Dhaka has always been serious about a safe repatriation of the refugees. In June 2018, the Bangladesh government signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of facilitating the voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas back to Myanmar, but the prospect of actual returns is in question because of the previous experience of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.
To ensure voluntary repatriations happen, full assurance is required that they will not be persecuted upon their return.
The military rulers in Myanmar have made every possible effort to thwart repatriation. Bangladesh has done the best it can in spite of its own multifarious constraints, and now it is time for the international community to do everything to help a persecuted ethnic minority return to the country they belong to.