Saturday, January 18, 2020 | ePaper

How long Rohingyas to remain stateless?

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MORE Rohingyas made attempts at entering Bangladesh by crossing the River Naff during the last few months as many of their family members, who fled violence against them in Rakhine State by Myanmar security forces, have taken shelter in Cox's Bazar camps. While the Border Guard Bangladesh members are fighting fresh influx, interviews of the Rohingyas have resumed at Salbagan refugee camp of Teknaf police eyeing repatriation. BGB, during their regular patrol on early Saturday morning blocked entry of six Rohingyas, including three women and three children.
Last week, Teknaf BGB members returned 22 Rohingyas while they were trying to enter Bangladesh through the River Naff on small locally-made wooden boats at St Martin's Island point, Shahaporirdip point and Hinllha point of Teknaf Police Station. According to the UNHCR, a total of 11,85,557 Rohingyas are living at 34 refugee camps under Ukhiya and Teknaf. Rohingya families are being interviewed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. On Sunday, a total of listed 25 families were interviewed by UNHCR as the process resumed on Thursday after over two weeks, officials confirmed.
But only 3450 of this number have been cleared by the Myanmar government for repatriation. If it takes two years for 3450 to be cleared it would take well over a thousand years to clear the rest. But Myanmar is enjoying the situation. It knows that even if it clears all the refugees at once there is small chance of them wanting to go back to Myanmar without being offered their basic rights.
It means that conditions inĀ  Bangladeshi refugee camps, however squalid, are still far superior to living in Myanmar. In Myanmar life may be physically easier but the ever present dangers of ruthless violence by the Myanmar military are bad enough for the Rohingyas to find solace in the camps around Teknaf.
There will be no end to the solution unless the Rohingyas are treated like human beings in their own country. This is unlikely to happen unless the Myanmar government changes their attitude completely-- something also unlikely to happen. If they continue to remain heartless, the Rohingyas will remain stateless. Nobody knows how long time it will take to fixing the issue.

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