Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Saturday, February 7, 2015, Magh 25, 1421, Robi-Us-Sani 17, 1436 Hijr

BD baffled at Myanmar's position on 'Rohingya'
Published : Saturday, 7 February, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 91

Saleem Samad
Bangladesh is baffled after Myanmar rebuked a United Nations official for mentioning Rohingya and urging for a political solution to halt persecution on them.
The Myanmar government has taken exception to UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee's statement for using the term Rohingya to describe a persecuted minority that the government refers to as 'Bengali.'
An official of the Foreign Ministry said on condition of anonymity that the repatriation of Rohingya refugee issue will be pushed into further uncertainty.
Last August, the Myanmar government agreed to repatriate only 2,415 "verified citizens" languishing in two refugee camps managed by UNHCR.
The number of undocumented Rohingyas in Bangladesh has swelled to nearly 1.5 to 2 million refugees who fled riot-torn Rakhine state two decades ago.
The official further said that the issue apparently will become a issue of perpetual disagreement between Dhaka and Naypyidaw (capital of Myanmar) in the months to come.
In the rebuttal Naypyidaw confidently stated that among Myanmar ethnicities there are no Rohingyas. They entered Myanmar from the neighbouring country in the colonial era.
Most of Myanmar's 1.1 million ethnic Rohingya Muslims are stateless and live in apartheid like conditions in predominantly Buddhist Rakhine state, neighbouring Bangladesh.
The UN doesn't accept such explanation of the authority and Yanghee Lee argued that there may be a dispute in identifying the persecuted community, she said she will use the word 'Rohingya' instead of 'Bengali' advised by Myanmar.
Meanwhile, the government is carrying out a controversial citizenship verification process, which requires Rohingyas to list their identities as 'Bengali.'
In an official memo to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Yanghee Lee opines that the problem is not between Rakhines and Bengalis and urged instead to "focus on addressing the urgent humanitarian and human rights needs."
The UN Chief while attending the ASEAN Summit last year highlighted the 'Bengali' issue and soon after his return to New York the UN issued a Press Release on Rohingya which appeared deliberate and one sided.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected].