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The Myanmar minister’s recent Dhaka visit over the Rohingya refugee issue did not evoke much hope. During his brief trip, minister of the state counselor’s office, Kyaw Tint Swe, spoke of taking back Rohingyas and forming a joint working group to this end. Given Myanmar’s Rohingya policy and past experience in this regard, it hardly seems plausible that this proposal will amount to anything tangible.
Even while the Myanmar minister was discussing the issue with Bangladesh’s foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, atrocities continued across the border in Myanmar, and Rohingyas continued to flee into Bangladesh. In fact, several thousand Rohingyas entered Bangladesh on the very same day. And on that day too, diplomats visiting areas in Rakhine saw smoke spiraling up in various areas. It is clear that the genocide that began on 25 August, has not abated even after over a month. Myanmar has done nothing to indicate any commitment to resolve the Rohingya issue.
It is evident that the Myanmar authorities will not resolve the Rohingya issue or the problems of the Rakhine state without intervention from the international community. Bangladesh has been involved in bilateral initiatives with Myanmar for quite some time now, to deal with this problem, but to no avail. Around over 613,000 Rohingyas have entered and taken refuge in Bangladesh so far.
This time, given the massive influx of Rohingyas and the brutal persecution being carried out, the international community has taken note. Bangladesh has also raised the issue at an international level. The United Nations, as well as other international agencies and countries, have termed the happenings in Myanmar as ‘ethnic cleansing’, ‘genocide’, and ‘crimes against humanity’.
It is imperative that Bangladesh properly utilises this global opinion that has been mobilised concerning the Rohingya issue. It is also imperative that the international community be involved in the repatriation of the Rohingyas. With international supervision, it will not be so easy for Myanmar to demur over the repatriation process. We feel that along with bilateral discussions with Myanmar, the involvement of the international community in the repatriation process and in resolving the Rohingya crisis is necessary.