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In 2017 Rohingya crisis was the biggest test for BD diplomacy  

Published : Monday, 1 January, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 1904

Rohingya refugees make their way to a refugee camp after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Shahporir Dip of Cox's Bazar.     file photo

Rohingya refugees make their way to a refugee camp after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Shahporir Dip of Cox's Bazar. file photo

In 2017 it was the Rohingya crisis to have dominated the focus of Foreign Ministry. Though appears a herculean problem to be resolved any time soon but the foreign office continues its activities at home and abroad to ensure safe return of the refugees to Myanmar.
However, Bangladesh achieved a landmark success in handling the crisis resorting to peaceful path to resolve it through organising formal dialogues, meetings and signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Myanmar for the safe return of displaced Rohingyas to Rakhine State. The country received huge appreciation from the international community for its efforts.
Since August 2017, the Foreign Ministry engaged all its 58 envoys across the globe to go for vigorous campaign on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's five -point proposal that she presented before the UN General Assembly.
The government's   initiatives have drawn serious attention of general members of the UN, European Union and OIC to exert tremendous pressure on Myanmar government to sign a MoU between Bangladesh and Myanmar for making a path of safe return of about 10 lakh Rohingyas to Myanmar.
"We have taken a unique path to address the crisis to convince the international community and the UN Security council's permanent members not to apply their veto powers to block any move against Myanmar government. At the same time, Bangladesh also sought support from the international community to continue humanitarian agencies operating in Cox's Bazar that urgently need $77 million to assist the refugees ," Dr Delwar Hossain, teacher of Dhaka University and also an international affairs expert, told the Daily Observer.
Bangladesh expects concrete steps from the UN Security Council so that the 'forcibly displaced people from Myanmar' in Bangladesh can go back to their homeland without fear, he added.
From the onset of the crisis, the international community showed sympathy and gave support to Bangladesh but the situation chnaged when the number reached around a million wreaking havoc on Bangladesh's small economy and social and physical environment.
Bangladesh under the leadership of Premier Sheikh Hasina showed great respect and extended humanitarian support to the displaced Rohingya Muslims including providing them with shelter, food and medicine while facing a severe crisis due to influx of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. 
"As an outcome of all these initiatives, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stepped up pressure on the Myanmar authorities, warning of ethnic cleansing against minorities in Rakhine. The European Union stands in solidarity with Bangladesh, and played a crucial humanitarian role in welcoming the refugees who have arrived as a result of the crisis," Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali said.
"Bangladesh has been sheltering the stateless Rohingyas for decades but now it has become unbearable for us," he said.
Following the initiatives, the UN Third Committee has adopted a resolution condemning Myanmar's human rights record, the European Union imposed a bar on sitting besides the Myanmar Army and also imposed sanction against them. It also takes initiatives to convince India, China and Russia to stand 'strongly with Bangladesh' over the Rohingya issue.
"We're working behind the scene. There're signs. We want to keep up the momentum (in diplomacy) but we need more time to take the momentum to the next stage to have concrete outcomes," the highly placed source said.
In its history, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a three-day consultation meeting in Dhaka with the theme of "Diplomacy for People and Peace".
Fifty eight envoys including High commissioners, ambassadors and permanent representatives of Bangladesh took part in the event.
The conference had exclusive sessions on foreign policy issues in the changing global context. It also held panel discussions on different contemporary national and international issues.
"The envoys were asked to project Bangladesh as a responsible and peace loving state in the world," the Foreign Minister said.

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