Monday, April 6, 2020 | ePaper


The Amnesty International must come forward to save the lives of Rohingya refugees

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Editorial Desk : Yet another human tragedy mainly involving young Rohingya girls took place in the sea off the Myanmar coast near St Martin's Island on February 11. In the incident at least 17 were drowned from a group of around 130 voyagers and 72 were missing.
Their bodies were found floating in the Bay of Bengal on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Of them, 14 were girls and 3 were children. The voyagers had set their sail in a small wooden boat for Malaysia in their desperate moves they claimed to join close relatives staying there.
Earlier, the girls were victims of Myanmar Army which committed war crimes and uprooted the entire Rohingya population from their homes in Rakhine State
 across Bangladesh border.
The ethnic cleansing still continues on the few people those are staying in the hide outs across Rakhine State. Bangladesh gave shelter to a huge number of Rohingyas. And the refugees in return hoped desperately that the government of Bangladesh will be fighting for them.
Our government, as incompetent as it is, should not have expressed high hopes of solving the crisis bilaterally. The government, in particular, relied on India's help. That was a terrible mistake. India has to think of its own interest first.
We know how one-sided our friendship with India is. We have no international footing of our own. Numerous purposeless foreign trips abroad in no way make our position internationally worthful. We must admit our inability quite clearly and seek world help in this regard.
We can at least ask others to take a share of the refugees. Our Foreign Ministry has taken no initiative abroad in this connection. The story that girls were going to Malaysia for accepting marriage offers is a blatant lie.
The traffickers were taking the girls for selling them in Malaysia or elsewhere. These girls would have met a tragic end. They became victims of trafficking only to save themselves from hell of a life they were living in Bangladeshi refugee camps.
Many of our incompetent officials are too accustomed to lies and misrepresent. The realty is -- the condition in the camps is inhuman. The girls are exploited in every way. So they took risks knowing that they would be drowned or cheated.
The foreign NGO volunteers find the situation too much difficult to cope with. The life in the camps is dreadful. But the NGOs are also not telling the world the whole truth.
We do not know what steps the government has taken to find how so many girls so easily were taken out of the camps for the deadly business of the traffickers. Some refugee girls were drowned. But the government appears not to be concerned to find out who are responsible for failure of duties in protecting the victims.
The traffickers were surely taking these girls for sale and the government of Malaysia would have returned them to Bangladesh when found. They would have lost their human existence to be treated as inhuman commodities.
Bangladesh government must not remain incompetent and helpless about our ability to solve or deal with the vast human tragedy. The government is apparently inactive and indifferent not to find a solution for saving the lives of refugee girls from disintegration and slow death.
We seek help of Amnesty International to Bangladesh to organise meaningful help so that Myanmar cannot refuse to take their people back. If it is a weak approach by the world community that will mean the Myanmar refugees are finished.
It is our apprehension the bureaucratic advisers then advised the government that huge foreign help would be flowing in and the refugees would be no problem for Bangladesh. It would have been true if Bangladesh had the competence and credibility.

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