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12/3/2016

HowtoaddressRohingyainflux?

HowtoaddressRohingyainflux?
RahmanJahangir

Instability in a neighbouring country is bound to have its fallout in countries surrounding it. So when
Rohingyas are persecuted in the Rakhine State of Myanmar now and then, the victims have a natural
choicetofleetosoutheasternregionofBangladeshthathasthetinyNaafRiverandnarrowhillyterrain
inBandarbandistrictasitsborder.TheRohingyasusuallyuseboatstocrosstheriverandtrektheterrain
totakeshelterinareasthatconstituteCox'sBazardistrict.
The Rohingya refugees have learnt basic Bangla language skills over the years and become fluent in
localdialect.Withphysiquessimilartothoseoflocals,theymixwellwiththeBangladeshicommunity.
Unlesstheydisclosetheiridentities,theycanhardlybedistinguishedfromothers.Thatiswhyhundreds
ofthousandsofundocumentedRohingyashaveintegratedwiththelocalpopulation.
As surveys say, most of the Rohingyas come from Myanmar's bordering areas like Maungdaw,
Buchidong, Rachidong, Akyab (now Sittwe), Momra and Chokt and sneak into Bangladesh through
different points, including Teknaf, Shabrang, Shah Porir Dweep, Hnila, Howaikang, Moyapara and
Jaliapara.TheyalsoentertheChittagongHillTractsbycrossingthehillyterrain.Myanmarsharesa271
kilometre border with Cox's Bazar and Bandarban, 54km with Teknaf upazila alone. That the fresh
influxofRohingyasinCox'sBazarareasisnowcontinuingunabatedimpliesthatBangladeshhaseased
itsotherwisetightvigilalongtheborder.
TheworldrecognisesthatBangladeshisfallingvictimtotheinfluxofRohingyarefugeeswheneverthe
MyanmarmilitaryresortstoethniccleansingintheRakhaineState.Butthentheinternationalcommunity
should appreciate that the country, having limited lands and overpopulation, cannot simply bear the
burdenofforeignrefugees.Mysteriously,itisnotyetknownwhyNobelpeacelaureateAungSanSuu
Kyi, who holds the reins of power in Myanmar, is maintaining a stony silence on the reign of terror
unleashedbythecountry'sarmedforcesandextremistBuddhistmonks.Infact,theNobelpeaceaward
thatwasgiventoSuuKyihaslostitssignificanceinviewofherinactionwithregardtobrutalitieson
helplesshumanityinherowncountry.
TherearenowthreedistinctoptionsforBangladeshtodealwiththecontinuingRohingyarefugeeissue.
One is to hold dialogue with Myanmar as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has time and again favoured
dialogueasameanstosettlebilateralissuespeacefully.ThesecondistojoinhandswithChinaandIndia
in making a joint move to hold talks with Myanmar and if such a move fails, to raise the issue
internationally.ThethirdoptionistousetheUnitedNationstopressuriseMyanmartoendatrocitieson
RohingyasandtakebackitsrefugeesfromBangladesh.
http://www.thefinancialexpressbd.com/2016/12/02/55078/HowtoaddressRohingyainflux?

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12/3/2016

HowtoaddressRohingyainflux?

ChinaisalsoaffectedbyarmedguerillawarfareinMyanmar,acountrywhereinsurgentsarelockedin
fiercebattlewiththearmedforces.BeijinghasbeefedupitssecurityintheregionofYunnanprovince.
PoliceofficershavebeendeployedatahighwayexittoWanding,atownshiponYunnan'sborderwith
Myanmar, to check identification documents of passersby, due to a flood of refugees from Myanmar.
TheChinesearmedborderpolicehavesetupseveraltemporarycheckpointsalongtheWandingRiver,as
itispossibletowadeacrosstheshallowwaterwaytoenterChina.AstheSouthChinaMorningPosthas
reported, the Chinese authorities are, however, trying to shelter thousands of refugees from Myanmar,
mostofthemethnicChinese,whoarecrossingthebordertoescapefightingbetweengovernmenttroops
andrebelmilitias.
IndiatooisaggrievedoveritsmilitantgroupstakingshelterininaccessibleareasofMyanmar.Asthe
TimesofIndiareported,despiteintenseeffortsfromIndia,Myanmardoesn'tseemtobeveryenthusiastic
aboutcrackingdownonIndianmilitantgroupsthathavetakenrefugeinitsterritory.SincetheNational
Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) violated its 14yearold ceasefire, India has been pushing
Myanmartocrackdownonmilitantgroups.However,thereseemstobenomajormovementforward,
andmilitantscontinuetohaveafreeruninMyanmar.
ForeignMinisterAHMahmoodAlithismonthsoughtinternationalsupporttoresolvethelongstanding
challengeincludingthecurrentcrisisinvolvingtheRohingyas.Butheisyettospelloutwhathemeant
whenhebriefedforeignenvoysbasedinDhakaaboutBangladesh's'deepinterest'inhelpingMyanmar
'inallpossiblewaysfromaddressingitssecurityconcerntocontributinginthesocialreconciliationand
economicupliftofpeopleinRakhineState'.
AstheForeignMinistersaid,Bangladeshhasalreadytakenaseriesofstepsto'establishandmaintain
friendly relations with Myanmar, particularly with the newly elected NLD government through
engagements at different levels'. Bangladesh provided help on its own to Naypyidaw since terrorists
attackedtheBorderGuardpostsofMyanmaronOctober9,2016.Bangladeshnotonlycondemnedthe
attack,italsoprovidedcriticalassistancetoMyanmarbyarrestingsuspectsandsharingintelligence.
BangladeshhastheoptiontojoinhandswithbothChinaandIndiainhelpingAungSanSuuKyihandle
the internal situation in Myanmar as possibly she is not in full control of the security situation there.
Happily, Dhaka maintains friendly relations with both Beijing and New Delhi and should take its
advantagetojoinforcesinordertomaketheregionfreefrommilitancyandterrorism.EventheUnited
NationstermedpersecutionofRohingyasas'ethniccleansing'.
But before internationalising the issue and seeking the UN intervention, Bangladesh should send a
specialemissarytoMyanmarforholdingtalkswithAungSanSuuKyiaboutthegraverefugeesituation
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12/3/2016

HowtoaddressRohingyainflux?

thecountryfacestoday.PrimeMinisterSheikhHasinahasalreadyforgedfriendshipwithherduringher
twomeetingsinNaypyidawandinNewYork.SuuKyievenbriefedHasinaonherinitiativetoresolve
theRohingyaissuebutdetailsofsuchabriefingaretobemadepublic.Suchabilateralmovewillforge
closerBangladeshMyanmarties.Oncesuchoverturesfail,onlythenatripartitemoveshouldbeinitiated
tohelpSuuKyitacklesecuritysituationinMyanmar.Afterall,itwasshewhohadappointedacredible
internationalcommissionheadedbynolessapersonthanformerUNSecretaryGeneralKofiAnnanto
help defuse ethnic tension in the Rakhaine State. He is already there following reports of fresh ethnic
cleansing.
arjayster@gmail.com

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