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If Dhaka wants to get rid of the Rohingya

Qutub Shah
RB Opinion
April 27, 2015

Arakan strip lying along the Burma-Bangladesh border, with a people of same faith and similar ancestry they should first consider themselves privileged to have a close neighbor not only geographically, but also ancestrally, historically and religiously. This multidimensional kinship inspires the importance of Bangladesh intervention in achieving a solution to the problem of Rohingya. 

As commonly known, Bangladesh, in addition to being an overpopulated poor country experiencing perhaps the worst democracy in the world, carries the majority of the exodus of Rohingya and it has been becoming a burden on it's shoulder for decades, resulting in several social problems, BUT not to the extent portrayed by Rakhine-linked anti-Rohingya media. 

Unfortunately, Bangladesh has a negative stance toward Rohingya issue in general. Instead of cooperating with them and looking for a permanent solution to their problem, Bangladesh has tried to get rid of Rohingya by mistreating them, defaming, insulting, abusing, pushing them back, kicking them out, tracing their evils if any, highlighting their behavioral weakness if any, etc. 

The word ‘Rohingya’ is criminalized in Bangladesh, and any activity by locals in favor of Rohingya is prohibited, even a wish or a prayer for them. Numerous Imams and social leaders have been arrested for just condemning the Rakhine atrocities against Rohingya and praying for them. Intermarriage is outlawed. Foreign aids for those unregistered refugees are restricted. 

At the same time, Rohingya have become the bullet for political parties in Bangladesh to target each other. And the Rohingya are also accused of violent action, terrorist attacks, or anti-social activity committed by unknown across the country. The Rohingya become a symbol of hatred and a theme of scoff, irony and mockery. 

Bangladesh’s response to Burmese government regarding Rohingya issues or its silent or negative stand toward this issue surely will result in delaying solution of the problem or worsening the situation. And it won’t get rid of the problem, because Bangladesh is the first and fastest exit to escape from Burmese aggression and Myanmar government also endeavors to send these people to Bangladesh as it accuses them of having migrated illegally from Bangladesh. 

The state minister of Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, “We don’t care what the foreign communities will say about our action (to push Rohingya refugees back) because the Rohingya refugees are destroying livelihood of the local people and the environment.” He added, “the daily wage rate in Cox’s Bazar has declined due to availability of Rohingya refugees as day laborers.” 

If Bangladesh really wants to get rid of the Rohingya problem(s) forever, it should support the problem, call for trilateral talks between Rakhine-Rohingya-Burma, provide a suitable environment for Rohingya activists and politicians who adopt non-violence and co-operate with them. Otherwise, pushing them back by force, or repatriating them officially without any guarantee of their fundamental rights is not enough to eliminate what Bangladesh suffers from. Bangladesh should learn lessons from fresh and frequent influx of refugees and failure of 1978 and 1992 refugees’ repatriation programs. 

On the other hand, Bangladesh as a party linked to the issue directly, Rohingya right activists should not ignore the necessity of Bangladesh intervention, in accordance with geopolitics, as it is the most strategic field, and should ask for its help and discuss possible ways for a permanent solution of this decades-old problem.

  1. Is the current Bangladesh government quintessentially introvert ? debilitating each one of its assets in barely obliged extinguishing the opposition practicing their democratic right. Why doesn't it hold up a gripe to ASEAN about Myanmar's behavior of pursuing out Rohingyas from their genealogical land.
    Consistent mass migration of displaced Rohingyas is making monetary weights and security devastation in some ASEAN member states. Additionally, on the Eastern side Myanmar's slicing of Kachin & Koking nationalists is making china up in arms & setting to brawl would be anything to get their nod of agreement at least from far. I think the time has never been so ripe to get going on this kind of a whining job for Bangladesh.

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