No more eyewash Need real care of global leaders in resolving Rohingya crisis । Md. Kamruzzaman (Bablu)

International, Issue

No-more-eyewash-Need-real-care-of-global-leaders-in-resolving-Rohingya-crisis-2Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated some specific proposals for resolving Rohingya crisis before the global leaders during her participation in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in the third week of September this year. She appealed for paying real care of the world community to Rohingya crisis in different events of the UNGA including a “High-level Event on the Global Compact on Refugees: A Model for Greater Solidarity and Cooperation” at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 24th September local time.
The proposals Sheikh Hasina raised include Myanmar must abolish discriminatory laws, policies and practices against Rohingyas and address the root causes of forced displacement in a genuine and timely manner, Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry press release unveils.
Secondly, Myanmar must create a conducive environment by building trust and guaranteeing protection, rights and pathway to citizenship for all Rohingyas. If needed, create a “safe zone” inside Myanmar to protect all civilians.
Thirdly, prevent atrocity, crimes against Rohingyas in Myanmar by bringing accountability and justice, particularly in light of the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission of the UN Human Rights Council.
Sheikh Hasina addressed with the presence of the United Nations Secretary General Mr. António Guterres and the World Bank President Mr. Jim Yong Kim. She welcomed the adoption of global compact on refugees and mentioned that currently 65 million people are livings as refugees and mostly the developing countries are hosting them. Prime Minister invited the world leaders to come forward with political will and commitment in resolving Refugee crisis.
Highlighting on the magnitude of Rohingya crisis and its impact on Bangladesh, she underscored the need for addressing the root causes of forced displacement and urged the international community to intensify its efforts in resolving protracted crises by ensuring safe and sustainable return of the refugee population to their homelands.
Prime Minister also requested the international partners to help the UN in implementing its joint response plan – the humanitarian assistance programme for the Rohingyas with necessary funding.
Hasina reiterated that Rohingya crisis has been originated in Myanmar and the solution has to be found in Myanmar. By opening the border and sheltering the displaced Rohingyas, Bangladesh has not only saved lives, we have stabilized the entire region by containing the crisis within our border, she added.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

She referred to the impacts of Rohingya influx on Bangladesh’s socio-economic life and environment and announced that pending return, the Rohingyas will be relocated to a newly developed island called Bhashan Char. She also reiterated that Bangladesh does not have any policy of local integration and the Rohingyas must return to their own country to secure their own future.

Global reality

However, the real fact is that global powers are just showing colloquial concerns over the Rohingya crisis. Otherwise, how does a country like Myanmar conduct such genocide and ethnic cleansing ignoring repeated concerns of the global leaders? I have talked with so many experts in home and abroad on this issue in different occasions. They all are very bored by the ineffective spoken threats of the global leaders to Myanmar authorities.
Most of them opine that global powers must change their strategy with more humanitarian approach to solve the burning Rohingya crisis or the scar may spread everywhere and hamper the global peace and regional stability. For example, S.M. Rashed Ahmed, former UN Regional Administrator in Kosovo and Bangladesh Ambassador to Japan, viewed this while one morning I was talking with him at his home.
Based on an unverified accusation of attacking on 30 police posts and an army base by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an alleged militant group working to uphold the rights of persecuted Rohingya community, the Myanmar army began crackdown in Rakhine state since 25 August 2017 resulting in mass exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh.
The latest research report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission has found Myanmar military guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity including rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, forced nudity, mutilations torture, persecution and enslavement and recommended for investigation and prosecution of top military commanders.
The report said it found conclusive evidence that the crackdown of the Myanmar army, known as the Tatmadaw, “undoubtedly amounted to the gravest crimes under international law” in Rakhine as well as in Kachin and Shan states.
Diplomat Ahmed has termed the clampdown at Rakhine as highly alarming. He warns for a dire consequence of the tradition of kicking out minority group from a state and carrying out genocide on the basis of religion or ethnic identity.
“Just imagine, if every state wishes to establish a purely Buddhist state or a purely Islamic state or a purely Hindu state or a purely Jews state or a purely Christian state, what will be the consequence of it? This is like Nazism of German’s Hitler,” he argues.
For the greater interest of global peace, he urges on effective solution of Rohingya crisis and emphasises on the role of China.
The strategic relationship between China and Myanmar is very strong for many years and the both countries are conscious to maintain this friendly relationship for mutual interest.
Chinese state-owned firms have recently reached agreements with Myanmar to construct a $7.3 billion deep-sea port and $2.7 billion industrial area in a special economic zone at Kyaukpyu along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
China has huge interest in Myanmar, Ahmed said, adding that as a global super power, China needs huge oil and other resources and at present Myanmar is one of the vital routes to carry those resources through to China.
But, it does not mean that gross crimes like genocide and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar will be tolerated by the nearest big neighbour China, because it will hamper the global position of China and term the super power as supporter of genocide and human rights violation, Ahmed observes.
As Asian neighbour Bangladeshi people are very much disappointed about China due to its silence on Rohingya genocide, Ahmed opines adding that, “We are accepting China as a super power with more responsibility not to go for bread and butter all the time.”
However, Dr. Maimul Ahsan Khan, professor of Law of the University of Dhaka and former country specialist on Afghanistan at Amnesty International, analyses the role of China on Rohingya crisis with a different approach.
Dr. Khan, also a judge of the international symbolic court of Iran on Rohingya genocide that has recently sentenced Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and commander-in-chief of army Min Aung Hlaing to 15 and 25 years behind the bars respectively for ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims, has emphasised on joint pressure on China.
He points out that Myanmar army and all sorts of Buddhists including extremist and non-extremist ones are seriously active in ousting minority Rohingya community from Rakhine state.
On the other hand, the members of the Rohingya community are still involved in internal conflict and there is no effective joint march by the Muslim world, Dr Khan says adding that, as a business partner it is natural that China maintains relations with the ruling force and majority people of Myanmar.
In this regards Bangladesh along with other countries should create diplomatic pressure on China to deal the Rohingya crisis from humanitarian point of view, he suggests. resolving-Rohingya-crisis-3
Though Bangladesh has not agreed with China in building deep-sea port here, the geo-political position as a huge market of Chinese products and investment has kept Bangladesh in a strong position for pressurising the super power for playing humanitarian role in solving Rohingya crisis, Dr. Khan analyses.

Findings of Research

Independent research also finds that in stopping genocide and other human rights violation on Rohingya community the role of China and Russia is very significant.
Dr. Azeem Ibrahim of the University of Cambridge in his research work entitled “The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide”, published in 2015 by Hurst & Company, London, has indicated the fact and warned of untoward genocide. His prediction has been proved truth through the August 2017 crackdown.
He has written, “The UN has been warned repeatedly as to how bad the situation is and indeed it has continued to publish highly critical reports. But, as ever, its impact is limited, in part by the enduring politics of the Security Council, in this case it is most likely that China and Russia would back the Myanmar military, and also by the fact that it has multiple roles in Myanmar.”
In analysing Chinese actual role in Myanmar Dr. Ibrahim has also written, “It is unlikely that China would pressure Myanmar over the wider issue of democratic reforms, but it might be less tolerant if unrest in Rakhine threatened its vital infrastructure projects”.
Predicting inevitable genocide in Rakhine Dr. Ibrahim has also recorded in his research, “Myanmar now stands on the edge of genocide. The Rohingyas have nothing left, most live in internal refugee camps and they are denied basic health care and the ability to work.”
Referring to the denial of citizenship rights of the Rohingyas by the Myanmar regime under the controversial 1982 citizenship law Dr. Ibrahim adds, ”One of the preconditions to genocide is the systematic denial of standard legal rights to an identified group”.

The latest research report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission has found Myanmar military guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity including rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, forced nudity, mutilations torture, persecution and enslavement and recommended for investigation and prosecution of top military commanders.

Let aside China, why the rest of the world did not pay heed to Rakhine earlier. In replying to this question Ambassador Ahmed says that the world attention was locked to so many other issues like rising of Islamic militants including Taliban, Al Qaeda, IS and the like for a long time.
The unrest in Iraq, Libya and Syria is also the long-prevailed issue of global attention including the western world as well as China and Russia, he adds.
Moreover, the world communities were hopeful that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi would be able to develop peaceful democracy instead of long-prevailed military-governance through election and the Rohingyas get their due dignity with citizenship rights.
Thus for a long time the internal massacres on Rohingya community as well as some other communities had been overlooked with the hope of a better Myanmar through the fulfilment of democratic commitments by Suu Kyi, Ahmed says.
“It is also a fact that the world-wide people perception was that Buddhists are a peace-loving nation and the country is moving to democracy under a great leadership like Suu Kyi”.
Due to such multiple realities, the ordeals of Rohingya people have been lingering decades after decades.

Plight of Rohingya community

Human Rights Watch conducted an analysis of satellite imagery, counting at least 200 villages burned in the offensive, with the United Nations calling it “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
More than 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces since August 2017, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
In its recent report, Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience, the OIDA increased the estimated number of murdered Rohingya to 23,962 (±881) from an earlier Doctors Without Borders figure of 9,400.
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, the OIDA report said, adding that 17,718 (±780) Rohingya women and girls were raped by the Myanmar army and police. More than 115,000 Rohingya houses were burned and 113,000 others were vandalized, it added.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
“In Rakhine this was interpreted by the Buddhist community and the army as a licence for attacks on Rohingya communities, and by 1978 over 200,000 more Rohingyas had fled to Bangladesh,” Dr. Ibrahim writes.
He adds, “The renewed attacks in the period 1991-2 saw 250,000 flee to Bangladesh, and again were marked by the use of forced labour, beatings, rape and land theft.”
The history of Rohingya massacre is even more long-standing. Noted researcher and President of the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO), Arakan, Dr. Mohammad Yunus, also referred some sequels of torturing on Rohingya Muslims in his famous book entitled, “A History of Arakan: Past and Present”, first published in 1994.No-more-eyewash-Need-real-care-of-global-leaders-in-resolving-Rohingya-crisis-4
About 1942 crackdown he writes, “At the Taungyinyo ghat approximately 15,000 lives fell victim to the sword of the ruthless Maghs. Also about 10’000 men, women and children were blocked at the mouth of ‘Afaqer dala’, a mountain pass linking Apawkwa (Afaq) in the east with Rathedaung in the west. All of them were killed there.”
United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres mentioned Rohingya as one of the most discriminated and vulnerable communities on the earth while visiting Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar on July this year.
“In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, I’ve just heard unimaginable accounts of killing and rape from Rohingya refugees who recently fled Myanmar. They want justice and a safe return home,” Guterres later tweeted.
Diplomat Ahmed urged for immediate action to stop genocide in Myanmar for the greater interest of global peace and security. He said, we are now living in a world of terrorism, we cannot provide any assurance that the IS or any other global terrorist front will not get involved with Rohingya.
“Then what will be the result of it? More than one million fled Rohingyas along with 170 million Bangladeshis will be the victims of it. Is it logical that neighbouring big powers like China and India will not be affected of it?” n

Writer: Journalist and International Affairs analyst.