Tuesday, September 26, 2017 | ePaper

Sheltering Rohingyas needs enormous resources

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BANGLADESH, being a country of a large population, higher unemployment rate, small land area, and an emerging economy, is struggling to accommodate the exodus of Rohingya refugee in the country. An economist estimated USD 1 billion would be needed to give food and shelter to the refugees and said that the government should seek international support for the huge number of refugees that took shelter in Cox's Bazar after fleeing persecution inside Myanmar. A senior economist at the Policy Research Institute or PRI, said the government must start asking that fund from the International community now.

Since Aug 25, an estimated 290,000 people are believed to have crossed the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh, tripling the Rohingya population in Cox's Bazar in two weeks. Furthermore, the Bangladesh authorities estimate that around half a million unregistered and 30,000 registered refugees are staying in Bangladesh. In spite of neither being a party to the 1951 UNHCR Refugee Convention nor to the 1967 protocol, Bangladesh has been hosting this considerable number of Rohingya refugee population since the 1970s.

The biggest problem is food, drinking water and medicine to the homeless people. It needs enormous money and a big operational arrangement to procure funds, foods and distribute to the people without allowing opportunists to steal the resources. This is a gigantic challenge. 

While USD 1 billion is a huge number it is nothing to worry about as we can easily get that in funds from the UN and other multi and bilateral organizations, not to mention individual donations from rich countries. What is essential is for the agencies to distribute the material and monetary aid directly to ensure that they reach the Rohingya and that it isn't appropriated and sold by corrupt officials in the black market--as has happened in the past for aid which has been given to Bangladesh.

The USD 1 billion amount is huge, around 80 billion takas, which is 5 percent of our ADP. But it does not spell the end for Bangladesh as the sum is statistically insignificant. No country has become bankrupt by helping refugees.What we need to focus on is their eventual repatriation through intensifying diplomatic offensives and taking the help of  China and India.The international community must end its silence on the Rohingyas.

The final solution for the refugees must consist of Myanmar finally granting them citizenship and all the rights which follow to enable them to leave peacefully. Terrorizing large parts of the Rohingya everytime as a terrorist group and attacking them homes is not the way to solve any problems. Rather, they should be given the rights to live peacefully--just like the rest of the other races living in Myanmar.

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