Bangladesh is seeking a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis without getting involved in conflicts, maintaining friendly relations with Myanmar.
Sheltering thousands of Myanmar nationals for the last three decades has been a big burden for Bangladesh.
A senior government official, refusing to be named, said Dhaka was being extra cautious since Naypyidaw was its neighbour. The policymakers have a negative attitude towards applying any sort of force.
The government has taken two types steps to solve the Rohingya crisis, the official said.
The first one is to raise the matter with Myanmar bilaterally and secondly, to sensitise international organisations and various countries.
“Our goal is to ensure a stable, peaceful and safe environment in the Rakhine state so that people of all religion, colour and community can live there in harmony, and we are holding discussions at various places to this end,” the official said.
If it can be done, the repatriation of Rohingyas will be easier and those going back to Myanmar will not come back to Bangladesh, the official added.
“We have seen in the past that Rohingyas who went back to Mynamar returned to Bangladesh after the start of military operations or communal violence,” the official said.
There were an estimated 300,000 unregistered and 33,000 registered Rohingyas in Bangladesh until October last year. An estimated 75,000 people arrived in Bangladesh since violence began in October.
Besides, the latest spell of violence has forced an estimated 125,000 Rohingyas to flee into Bangladesh since August 25.
Thousands more are stranded on the no-man's land along the border.
Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted communities in the world. They are denied citizenship and basic rights in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Naypyidaw calls the Rohingyas 'Bengalis' and see them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Security and border cooperation
Another senior government official said Myanmar conducts military operations in the pretext of rooting out extremists. Bangladesh has given several proposals on securing the border and suppressing extremists.
The government is interested in giving this relation an institutional form.
Bangladesh has proposed setting up border liaison office, security cooperation agreements, joint border patrol and joint operations against militants.
“Unfortunately, Myanmar has not given us any concrete answer to any of our proposals,” the official said.
Various organisations like the UN, EU, OIC are working to solve the Rohingya crisis. Bangladesh provides them all sorts of assistance and holds talks with them whenever they approach the government, the official said.
Another official said the UN security council had discussed the Rohingya issue and hoped that elaborate discussions would be held on the matter during the general assembly.
Bangladesh supports creating a safe zone for Rohingyas inside the Rakhine, the official said.
“Several countries including Turkey and Malaysia have shown interest in resolving the issue through discussion with Bangladesh,” the official added.
The article was first published on Bangla Tribune