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UNGA disappoints Bangladesh, Rohingyas

Published : 25 Sep 2023 10:43 PM | Updated : 26 Sep 2023 04:06 PM

United National General Assembly (UNGA) as well as the global leaders have frustrated Bangladesh, its people and also the Rohingya community over their failure to bring an effective solution to resolve Rohingya refugee crisis at the 78th UNGA session in New York.

Bangladesh has given shelter to more than 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims forcibly displaced from Myanmar out of humanitarian concern. Six years have passed from the date we have given shelter to this Rohingya community in Bangladesh and still international community has been unsuccessful in ensuring repatriation of Rohingyas to their home country Myanmar. 

Bangladesh, the host country, is the victim and worst sufferer of this Rohingya crisis as the world’s highest number of refugees now stay in this small country. It is unfortunate that United Nations has been indecisive on this issue this year at its General Assembly although it is a global crisis, which is putting the safety and stability of the entire region at risk.   

The current situation in Bangladesh may propel radicalization. The stability of the entire region has been shaken. Not only this region, but the entire world may also get affected by this problem, if not resolved. This is disappointing and frustrating. 

It has become a huge burden upon the current government and the people of Bangladesh as the government has spent a huge sum of money in arranging accommodation and ensuring basic needs of these Rohingya refugees. There is no commitment from the United Nations or its Secretary General on repatriation of Rohingya refugees during this 78th session of the General Assembly although the matter was discussed in a sideline  meeting of the 78th UN General Assembly Session. 

Bangladesh as a host country is facing the biggest challenge as this Rohingya community is now vulnerable to becoming victims of organised crime. The international community must continue and strengthen its support towards Bangladesh for going passing difficult time as only extending humanitarian support is not enough for resolving this crisis. The international bodies including UN must ensure repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar. 

Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina has also expressed frustration over the uncertainty in repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar. 

Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh cannot bear this burden any further and the prolonged staying of the Rohingya in Bangladesh has caused grave difficulties on the economy, environment, security, and socio-political stability in Bangladesh.

Delegation came from Myanmar to Bangladesh several times to initiate the repatriation of a small group of Rohingyas under a pilot project mediated by China but there is no visible progress.

The majority of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh reside in overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar and on the island of Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal. The majority of  these migrants left Rakhine of Myanmar’s western coast, after a deadly military  crackdown there in August, 2017.

Bangladesh Prime Minister has urged the world leaders at UNGA session to work  for ensuring these people are repatriated to their own homeland in Myanmar. This repatriation must be facilitated voluntarily, safely and with dignity by the world leaders. The safety and stability of the region is vital for these people and the entire world. The future of this Rohingya community is unclear. The situations in Myanmar and around the world make this problem more challenging and complex. A strong political commitment to resolving this issue is unavoidable which needs to be understood and realised by international community including, ASEAN, European Union, European Parliament, United Nations, UN Human Rights bodies and the United States, who are the giant players in global field.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided, by fifteen votes to one, that it has jurisdiction under the Genocide Convention to hear the application filed by Gambia against Myanmar in November, 2019. The Gambia’s application alleged that Myanmar’s military and other security forces perpetrated genocide by systemically destroying—through mass murder, rape, and other kinds of sexual violence—villages of the Rohingya in Rakhine province of Myanmar. 

The Rohingya crisis is not only a humanitarian crisis, but also a political crisis now. A political solution is the essence of resolving this crisis. It should be given the utmost priority for resolving the political crisis in Myanmar, otherwise the existence and well- being of the entire region will be at risk.

The Indonesian Foreign Minister at UNGA session conveyed two things that need to be done to help Rohingya refugees, namely first, encourage a political solution and second,  ensure the availability of humanitarian assistance. He said that inclusive national dialogue efforts encouraged by ASEAN through the 5- Point Consensus must also include  solutions for the Rohingya community. ASEAN leaders in 2021 agreed to five points for resolving Rohingya crisis which include an immediate end to violence in the country; dialogue among all parties; the appointment of a special envoy; humanitarian assistance by ASEAN; and the special envoy’s visit to Myanmar to hold meeting with all parties. 

The silent cry of Rohingya community must not be unheard! They must be given proper attention and care to survive and deal with this global crisis. International community must act to put an end to this suffering. Bangladesh government was hopeful that UNGA would be able to bring some solution this year, however; no such consensus has been made at this 78th session to that effect. If UN ignores this vast community’s appeal to get back to their own land safely then it is tragic and not desirable.

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