UN Security Council commitment
May a hope for Rohingyas
Bangladesh has not yet taken any hard-line against its only other neighbour save India and has tried, over the years to reach an understanding with Myanmar. It has internationalised the issue only to the extent of seeking humanitarian aid and nothing more. It first received about 300,000 Rohingya refugees in 1978. Through negotiations about 210,000 were repatriated with the rest continuing to live in Bangladesh.
However, Bangladesh government is continuing its engagement with the Myanmar authorities in good faith and this is not unknown to the world that nearly 690,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25 last year after the Myanmar military cracked down on insurgents in Rakhine State. Myanmar is not doing enough to take them back and ensure their safe stay. Therefore, the UN Security Council should continue to act on behalf of the international community as the custodian for the process of voluntary, safe and dignified return of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar's Rakhine State.
Recently, the United Nations Security Council has expressed its commitment to keep the Rohingya situation of Myanmar high on the Council's agenda during its presidencies in the coming months. Several members of the Council came up with the pledge at the first open council meeting organised by the Kuwaiti Presidency of the Council on the situation in Myanmar at the UN. They expressed satisfaction at the bilateral arrangements signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar on voluntary return and underscored the need for the international community's support to Myanmar for creating a favourable situation on the ground for the Rohingyas' sustainable return.
The meeting was convened at the behest of a number of Council members led by the United Kingdom while the Security Council invited the Permanent Representatives of Myanmar and Bangladesh to speak at the meeting as countries directly concerned.
Bangladesh is now under severe pressure from the Arab and Muslim world to internationalise the issue and take a tougher stance than it has hitherto taken. The visits of the Indonesian and Turkish foreign ministers are indications of that. If there is no change in the situation on the ground Bangladesh will be left with little option but to take a more stringent approach that would further complicate the situation.
Myanmar, on its part, must realise that blaming all the current atrocities on the so-called terrorists and claiming that its security forces had nothing to do with the crimes committed, in spite of unvarying accounts of thousands of refugees to the contrary, is neither credible nor helpful in solving the situation.