Rohingya issue top priority in Indo-Pacific zone

Resolve the crisis through peaceful negotiation

Published : 22 Jan 2023 08:41 PM

Diplomats and security experts at home and abroad have identified the Rohingya crisis as the most important issue in the Indo-Pacific as well as the subcontinent context. They have also put emphasis on the immediate resolution of the Rohingya issue through joint effort considering the security threat and stability of this region. They came to these understandings and recommendations at a senior level dialogue programme titled "Bangladesh and the Indo-Pacific Collaboration: Priority Issues and Concerns".

Bangladesh wants to resolve the Rohingya crisis through peaceful negotiation and the country expects similar reciprocity from Myanmar and international community. We have done the best we can to ensure Rohingya repatriation through peaceful negotiation but nothing has gone in our favor so far. It seems we are paying the price for showing empathy to a persecuted minority population of a neighbouring country.

The international 

community and UN should exert 

their influence on  Myanmar to create a conducive 

environment so that the Rohingya refugees can

 return to their homeland

 with safety, security and dignity

Over the last five years, displaced Rohingyas have appeared as a serious burden on the economy and environment of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has been hosting over 1.2 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district since August 25 in 2017, and most of them arrived there after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing". Both countries signed a repatriation agreement on November 23, 2017,. But five years on, even a single Rohingya have not returned to their motherland in fear of being persecuted upon their return. It needs no emphasising that voluntary repatriation of the Rohingyas is the most viable and durable solution to the crisis. However, it is worth mentioning that repatriation attempt failed twice in November 2018 and August 2019 amid Rohingyas' lack of trust in the Myanmar government. 

In order to make voluntary repatriations happen, Myanmar has to ensure that Rohingya refugees  will not be persecuted upon their return. To this end, the international community and UN should exert their influence on  Myanmar to create a conducive environment so that the Rohingya refugees can return to their homeland with safety, security and dignity. We expect a more vigorous role of the international community on the diplomatic front to compel Myanmar to take back the Rohingyas.

It is alleged that Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar have turned into hotbeds of crime. According to media reports, criminal gangs, active in the camps, often lock into bloody confrontations over control of markets, Yaba smuggling, and human trafficking. Also, Rohingyas have been engaged in serious confrontations with locals over supremacy of drug smuggling. The authorities concerned should take necessary measures to beef up security as much as possible and catch the perpetrators especially the gangs that are carrying out criminal activities.