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Rohingyas invite multifaceted risks for Bangladesh

Speakers at a seminar say Myanmar army involved in Yaba trafficking

Published : 20 Jul 2022 10:07 PM | Updated : 21 Jul 2022 04:38 PM

Speakers at a seminar have blamed Rohingyas taking refuge in Cox’s Bazar for the rise in drug smuggling into Bangladesh.

They said Bangladesh is facing the risks of drug smuggling and human trafficking and threat in border security thanks to Rohingyas.

Monthly magazine ‘Diplomats’ organised the seminar titled ‘Rohingya and Narco Terrorism’ at the Radisson Blu Water Garden in the capital on Wednesday.

Speaking as the chief guest, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said Rohingyas have invited drug smuggling and human trafficking risks and border security threat for Bangladesh.

He said despite not producing any drugs, Bangladesh has now become a victim of it.

He called on friendly countries to cooperate in solving the Rohingya crisis immediately.

Professor Imtiaz Ahmed of the International Relations Department of Dhaka University alleged that the Myanmar army is directly involved in the production and trafficking of Yaba and crystal meth to Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh is being used as a major route for these drugs by the Myanmar army,” he said.

“They [Myanmar military] earn huge amounts of money every month as profit from this [drug] trade. They want to make Bangladesh a sanctuary of Yaba and crystal meth,” he said.

Most of the speakers expressed concern over the increase in the trade and use of drugs, especially Yaba, in Bangladesh through the Rohingyas.

Prof Imtiaz said the local market for Yaba and crystal meth, most of which comes from Myanmar, has increased since the arrival of the Rohingyas in 2017.

Speaking on the occasion, Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh Essa Yousef Essa Alduhailan said Bangladesh is not the only place where the drug problem is increasing because of the Rohingyas.

“They are also causing problems internationally. The Rohingyas are smuggling these drugs to Saudi Arabia too,” he said.

The envoy demanded strong international initiatives to solve the Rohingya crisis and promised full cooperation to Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia in this regard.

Speaking as a special guest, Foreign Secretary Masood bin Momen said drug trafficking and crime have increased along the border in recent times. The number of drug seizures in areas where the Rohingyas live has also increased.

He said, “Synthetic drugs are coming across the border where the Rohingyas are working as [drug] carriers. Arms smuggling has become a threat to law enforcement agencies. Rohingya camps are at the centre of these smuggling activities.

“Human trafficking is happening from Rohingya camps.”

The foreign secretary expects transferring Rohingyas to Bhasanchar will reduce human trafficking.

He said almost 50 percent of the Rohingyas who have taken refuge in Bangladesh are children, many of whom are getting involved in terrorism and drug smuggling.

He suggested resorting to ASEAN to solve the Rohingya crisis, saying there are gaps in the mechanism between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Security analyst Brigadier General (Rtd) M Sakhawat Hussain said many countries, including Japan and Singapore, have made large commercial investments in Myanmar. The issue of solving the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh has taken a very complicated shape.

British High Commissioner in Dhaka Robert Dickson, Bruneian High Commissioner in Dhaka Haji Haris bin Haji Othman, Dhaka University’s International Relations Department teacher Delwar Hossain, and Jahangirnagar University’s International Relations Department teacher Sahab Enam Khan were present at the seminar, among others Diplomats’ Executive Editor Nazinur Rahim presided over the programme.

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