Bangladesh has been a host nation for the Rohingya refugees for a long time now. It was chaotic at first, giving shelter and providing food to such a massive number of people, but slowly Bangladesh has come up with effective measures through which such a huge number of people can be properly taken care of. Not only that the international support from organizations has helped Bangladesh weather the crisis in the nick of time. But recent incursions of Rohingyas from their camps and attacking the citizens of Bangladesh have become an almost regular incident.
The issue is not just that Bangladesh has playing the role of a host for long time and the burden needs to be relieved by some other country rather it is the fact that the Rohingyas have grown bold and are brazenly attacking the local populace around the camps. In addition to this, there are reports which point towards the fact that a number of criminal gangs actively work in the Rohingya refuges. From there they carry out a number of criminal activities including drug dealing, kidnapping, extortion, smuggling and human trafficking. Even more concerning than this is the fact that the once enclosed Ronhingyas in designated camps have now started getting outside and are conducting attacks the citizens of Bangladesh. On another note, a few days back, there was another Rohingya related report stating that three Ronhingyas were killed in a gun fight with local police at Cox’s Bazaar’s Teknaf. Police say that the three men were armed and were members of an organized kidnapping ring.
Several other reports point to the fact that there have been many close encounters of law enforcement members with Rohingyas who are working as drug dealers or are members of kidnapping rackets or are members of gangs of robbers. On top of that the Rohingya refugees have been constantly leaving the camps which have been designated for them to look for easy prey among the Bengali populace near the camp locality. Alongside this, there are other reports stating that members of BGB have been in frequent armed clashes with smugglers who are believed to be Rohingyas.
Recently, government officials have state that barbed wire fencing is to be put up to make sure that no more incursions of Rohingyas take place. But how long can that ensure that these people do not leave the camps and take their own way of becoming self sufficient. These incidents of unsocial activities and brazenness of the Rohingya refugees timed with their incursions and attack on the locals suggest that they have overstayed their welcome.
Although, the international community is on par with the Bangladeshi government to repatriate the Rohingyas in their home country of Myanmar, only talks have been going back and forth so far. There is no real initiative being taken on this issue. Experts opine that unless the Rohingya issue is solved, the crisis can very well destabilize the country and the entire region. Bangladesh’s advancements to repatriate the refugees through peaceful negotiations have fallen on deaf ears so far.
Myanmar so far has kept perfectly quite about reinstating the Rohingyas. But even if Myanmar wishes to take them back will the Rohingyas go back willingly to such a place which had condemned their fate to ethnic cleansing. Wshat will the world governments do if such a situation were to occur? There are multiple variables on various levels which can pose massive uncertainty for the people and future of Bangladesh.
China, Russia, Japan are in talks with Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been trying her utmost to negotiate these countries into putting pressure over Myanmar. But so far from the news we can make an educated guess that these countries are keeping a neutral position in all this. PM has recently visited Japan. Primse Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed his support for the Rohingya repatriation but he has also been playing nice with State Councillor of Myanmar San Suu Kyi. There have been talks about the Rakhine state between Abe and Suu Kyi before, but it was all non-concrete.
On the other hand, Russia is a massive economic opportunity for Bangladesh. Russia has signed MOC, multilateral deals, strategic policies and so many other deals and development related technical jargons. But at the same time Russia sells weapons to Myanmar and also there are trade deals between them which are supposed to boost Myanmar’s economy by millions. Such a similar case can be found between China and Myanmar. China has massive investments in Myanmar and also sells to weapons to them too. So, it is clear that both these countries are playing nice to both Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Such a scene cannot continue to sustain. Rohingyas have been staying in unlivable conditions for a long time. They have already started exploring and finding out the loopholes through which they can exploit the resources of Bangladesh. There are many cases where many Rohingyas have tried to get Bangladeshi passports through traffickers. Moreover, the scenario where Rohingyas rise up to get back their homes and rights with arms is not that far away. As such the international community must come under solid negotiations which will result in the repatriation of Rohingyas.
Md Saifuddin Al Quaderi is working with Bangladesh Post