Stronger Dhaka efforts needed over Rohingyas to avert security risks | 2017-09-08 |

Stronger Dhaka efforts needed over Rohingyas to avert security risks

India, China have crucial role to play to find solution: Experts

AKM Moinuddin, UNB     8th September, 2017 05:04:16 printer

Stronger Dhaka efforts needed over Rohingyas to avert security risks

Armed Myanmar police patrol fields near Maungdaw in Myanmar on 7th September. AFP Photo

Bangladesh needs to redouble its diplomatic efforts and take leadership in an urgent manner to address Rohingya situation, particularly for a long term political solution, as it might put Bangladesh in multidimensional security risks, experts say.


They think India and China also have crucial role to play to put pressure on Myanmar to resolve the crisis and keep the region peaceful addressing security risks.


"It is good to see that Bangladesh has started to make some contacts with global and regional powers but these efforts need to be robust and urgent," Dr Ali Riaz, a Professor at the Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University, USA, told UNB after news emerged that Bangladesh is working with a number of countries to bring a peaceful solution to the present crisis.


Strategic interests and economic considerations, he thinks, appear to be the determinant of the policies of China, India and others. "But this policy may turn out to be counterproductive, if the humanitarian crisis is not addressed immediately and long term solutions are not found," said the analyst.


International community, Professor Riaz said, must understand it is not a Bangladeshi problem but a regional issue with implications beyond the region. "It's imperative to address the plight of the Rohingyas for their sake, for the sake of humanity and for regional peace and security."


"The current situation, particularly the hopelessness and inaction of the international community, has the potential for radicalization of those who have lost everything," said Professor Riaz. "Myanmar and his supporters including India must take note of it." Talking to UNB, Security Analyst Major General (Retd) Abdur Rashid said they are witnessing a relatively stronger role from the international community this time.


"It's Myanmar's problem but we are affected. Bangladesh, on humanitarian ground, gave shelter to Rohingyas though this huge number of new arrivals is creating various types of security risks for Bangladesh," he said.


Explaining security risks that Bangladesh might face, Maj Gen Rashid said terrorists and militants groups from home and abroad might recruit Rohingya people as these people who have lost everything can easily be influenced to take the wrong path.


He also listed social instability in the areas where Rohingyas took shelter, environmental risk as they are destroying forests for their shelters and the pressure on the society as economic opportunities for locals will get shrink that will ultimately create instability in the society.


Maj Gen Rashid also mentioned that Rohingya people might get involved in drug peddling, join hands with local robbers and human traffickers creating problems for Bangladesh.


"Taking all these risks, Bangladesh gave them shelter on humanitarian ground. Bangladesh will try to send them back early as possible to avert the risks. I think Bangladesh's diplomacy is walking on that front," he explained.


The analyst thinks India and China have significant influence over Myanmar and these two countries must come forward to address the issue in a peaceful manner.


"India must come forward willingly as if there is instability in Bangladesh it will not spare India's Northeast," Maj Gen Rashid said adding that China needs to be directed towards humanity though it has long been "blindly" supporting Myanmar.


He said China seems to have softened its position recently and Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and China must work together to reach a sustainable solution to Rohingya crisis.


Prof Ali Riaz said it appears that the international community has finally started to move for addressing the plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar and the refugees who crossed to Bangladesh.


The resolution passed by the European Parliament on Thursday expressing deep concern and the US condemnation of violence are indicative of the movement, he explained.


Over 270000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh since August 25 while the figure might touch 300000 mark within next couple of weeks.


The questions are whether the current international diplomatic efforts will bear any fruits and whether the help will come soon enough for millions inside and outside Myanmar, said Prof Ali Riaz. "Unfortunately, the sense of urgency is missing in these efforts."


The government of Bangladesh, the country which is bearing the burden of this growing number of refugees, has finally taking diplomatic steps, he said adding "This is confounding that it took almost two weeks. But it is better late than never." The political analyst said the scale and scope of the crisis warrants a leadership from Bangladesh in mobilizing the international community.


The Bangladesh-origin US Prof said the least the country should have done was to send a special envoy to the capitals of the region and elsewhere making it clear that urgent humanitarian efforts are needed.


Bangladesh should also make it clear that humanitarian effort is not only thing the international community should do and that an immediate political solution is the only way to stem the tide of the refugees and bring peace to the Rakhine state, he said.


"I was expecting a Bangladesh envoy traveling to Jakarta not the Indonesian Foreign Minister visiting Dhaka to discuss the issue," Prof Ali Riaz said referring to the visit of the Indonesian and Turkish Foreign Ministers.


Bangladesh has put its efforts to have an area in Myanmar declared as an "international safe zone" under UN supervision which will help ensure safety, security, food and shelter for Rohingyas apart from stopping influx towards Bangladesh.


The government is now in close touch with UN Security Council members, including Russia and China, major groups like European Union, OIC, ASEAN, neighbouring India to mount pressure on Myanmar to end persecution of Rohingyas, a highly placed government source told UNB.


"I can tell you, we are not sitting idle. Apart from bilateral mechanism, we are moving ahead with multilateral diplomatic efforts," said the official source wishing to remain unnamed.


Bangladesh missions abroad circulated briefing notes, documents and evidence of atrocities in Myanmar among the UN nations, UN secretary general, UN Human Rights Commission and other regional and international bodies so that head of states and governments in their speeches in the upcoming UN General Assembly (UNGA) sessions strongly raise the Rohingya and Myanmar issues, foreign ministry sources said.


Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has urged the European Union (EU) and the United Nations agencies to take action to alleviate the sufferings of the Rohingya people of Myanmar.


OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef A Al-Othaimeen wrote separate letters to High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR) Federica Mogherini, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi calling for decisive steps to end the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State.


Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said they are receiving constant reports of violence by Myanmar's security forces, including indiscriminate attacks.


"This will only further increase radicalization," he said on Tuesday mentioning that the grievances and unresolved plight of the Rohingya have festered for far too long and are becoming an undeniable factor in regional destabilization.