Rohingya burden grows heavier


Bangladesh has been suffering for decades with the Rohingyas from Myanmar, and the burden on Bangladesh is increasing gradually due to a non-cooperative attitude of Myanmar over the repatriation process. The cost is heavy for Bangladesh, as for years, the Rohingya people who live as refugees and stateless persons in sprawling camps on the country's southern coast, and whose numbers have swelled to more than 1 million since violence across the border in 2017.

However, the new influx has tested the hospitality of the Bangladeshi government. Within the years, around 7000-acres of forest land in Cox's Bazar has become the world's most populous camps, the area is also now a den of drug traders and human traffickers. Over one million people of host communities are now under threat of multiple hostilities from the Rohingyas they themselves had sheltered.

According to Joint Response Plan JRP 2019 by Inter Sector Co-ordination Group ISCG an umbrella of international aid agencies providing humanitarian assistance to Rohingyas in Bangladesh, over 3 lakh persons of the host communities are in need of special assistance as they have been affected severely by the Rohingya influx.

More than 730,000 Rohingyas fled Myanmar after a military campaign in late 2017 that the United Nations has said was executed with genocidal intent. Thousands more, were born in Bangladesh after their parents fled earlier waves of violence. Though Myanmar says it is ready to welcome back the refugees to northern Rakhine state from where they fled, tension is still rife in the area, and the UN has said conditions are not right for them to return.

Twenty months on from the start of the crisis, and with no resolution in sight, some local people are losing patience. In the area, the Rohingyas are majority in population; all are they getting rations and sitting idle. Most of the time in the day they fight or quarrel among themselves, or with the locals, said Gafour Uddin, Chairman of Palongkhali, a boarding Union a unit of local government of Ukhia upazila, hosting several Rohingya camps.

The World community is thinking about the Rohingyas, said Gafour Uddin, we only think what our future is, now it is more than impossible for us to host them further. Ashraful Azad, Assistant Professor of International Relations at Chattogram University told Bangladesh Post, ' The burden on the host country is mostly localised in the Cox's Bazar area. The most obvious burden is on the environment and local service sectors because of a radically increased population.
Both the government of Bangladesh and the international organisations need to focus on the preservation and restoration of natural environment, and invest in various public service sectors including health, sanitation, education and communication.

A Joint Working Group, JWG, with high profile delegations from Myanmar and Bangladesh have held several meetings with each other in both countries since the crackdown began, and a repatriation agreement was signed in Naypyidaw on March 23. 2018. According to the deal following a series of painstaking discussions between proactive Bangladesh and unwilling Myanmar, the countries attempted to begin repatriation on November 15, 2018, but the effort failed due to the unwillingness of the Rohingyas and objections from the international community.

Abul Kalam, Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, the ranking officer of Bangladesh, dealing with the issue said, 'We have completed all of the processes on JWG decisions to start repatriation, but the steps could not proceed further due to the unwillingness of Myanmar government to ensure safe and dignified environment for Rohingyas in Rakhine as per the requirements of international community.

In such a deadlock, the JWG last meeting was held in Naypyidaw in May, but any progress is not yet visible. In the meantime, Bangladesh government has become very vocal from fears if effective and peaceful solution is not find out immediately, the region may become destabilised. After the previous meeting's decisions are implemented, the next meeting will be held, and according to the deal, it will be held in Dhaka, but no decision has yet been made, said the RRRC.