Sunday, February 18, 2018 | ePaper

BD has no active diplomacy: But Rohingyas need statehood

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BANGLADESH government proposal for UN supervised safe zone in Myanmar to protect Rohingya population has come at a time when most Rohingyas have been cleared of their ancestral home. They are being persecuted over the years but Bangladesh government pursued no active diplomacy to take the issue to the international community effectively.
Meanwhile most Rohingya villages were torched and vacated by Myanmar military to clear of the presence of the Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine State. So it is not clear whether the proposed safe zone will be of any help to the people now on the run and on the top of it if the Myanmar government will accept such idea any way. To them Rohingyas are terrorists and the mass persecution is all but a huge iceberg of a misinformation campaign. Suu Kyi said Myanmar military is waging a legitimate fight to clear terrorists.
So just placing such proposal is not enough if the Myanmar government stance is not supportive. China and Russia are two big powers so far shielded Myanmar from UN censures and pressure from other international bodies to end the persecution and solve the crisis through discussion. The country is bent upon evicting Rohingya Muslims from their ancestral lands.
Over the past two weeks alone more than 164,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh across the Naf River escaping atrocities of Myanmar military. Their total number in the country now stands over 500,000 refugees while many others have fled to other countries. As per some estimates less than 40 percent Rohingyas is now inside Myanmar and most of them are in temporary government shelters.
The safe zone concept is not anything new but the question, if it is practical when huge member of Rohingya's were systematically killed and raped. The real solution lies in establishing statehood for the victims of genocide.
We are in fact appalled by the poor diplomacy of the government even now to highlight the plight of the refugee crisis. The Turkish First Lady broke much of Bangladesh government diplomatic silence by her visit to Dhaka when our foreign office is not even holding daily briefing of foreign diplomats and taking them to refugee camps to show the scale of the crisis and stream of the arrivals. Some reports said diplomatic efforts were intensified over the past weeks with UN bodies and other blocs such as EU, ASEAN and OIC countries to bring pressure on Myanmar to stop persecution and end the crisis.
Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also alerted the Security Council members of an impending "humanitarian catastrophe" that may spiral into more violence while the risk of ethnic cleansing may destabilise the region. We must say Myanmar has successfully secured the support of China and Russia and even India while we are virtually left alone in the scene.

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