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Rohingya crisis: ‘World should not leave Bangladesh alone with this crisis’

  • Published at 11:32 pm November 2nd, 2020
Is their destiny sealed?-Rohingya
Is their destiny sealed? / Mahmud Hossain Opu

Prominent scholars of Bangladesh participating in the webinar on Bangladesh, world’s responses to Rohingya genocide

The world should not leave Bangladesh alone with this humanitarian crisis, speakers at a program said.

The Chairman of the Central Foundation for International Strategic Studies (CFISS) organized a webinar on "The Rohingya Crisis: In Search of A Sustainable Solution,” held on Sunday.

Commodore Nurul Absar (Retd), was the moderator of this first session of the webinar series.

He noted that the aim of the webinar series was to sensitize the world community and the people of Bangladesh on the Rohingya crisis and the associated challenges and implications so that they could generate a broader discourse on finding sustainable solutions for suffering humanity.

“The world should not leave Bangladesh alone with this humanitarian crisis … Moreover, as human beings we should not stay naive and indifferent to the suffering of the Rohingyas and the world community should put in more effort rather than just providing relief service to Bangladesh,” he added.

In his keynote speech, Professor Imtiaz Ahmed explained the Rohingya exodus in 2017 in the midst of genocidal atrocities.

According to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), at least 6,700 Rohingya, including at least 730 children under the age of five, were killed in the month after the violence broke out. And about 288 villages were partially or totally destroyed by fire in northern Rakhine state after August 2017, according to analysis of satellite imagery by Human Rights Watch. 

Moreover, Ahmed showed the Rohingya refugee sites on a Bangladesh map. He stated that about 1.1 million Rohingya refugees entered and settled in Bangladesh in less than three months. The number is bigger than the total population of Bhutan (0.76 million).

The speaker explained the humanitarian financial support of the international community. The Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya refugee response is only 69% funded, as of December 31, 2019, with US$636 million received against the overall needs of $920 million. 

The history of Rohingya persecution

Tensions between the government and several other armed groups operating in Myanmar have increased in recent years, suggesting the government is attempting to reconsolidate any power and control lost during two periods of peace agreements. 

By far, over 135 ethnicities are recognized in Myanmar except the Rohingyas. In August 2018, a United Nations mandate fact finding mission found that the military abuses committed in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states since 2011 "undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law," and called for senior military officials, including Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing, to face investigation and prosecution for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, according to Human Rights Watch.

Dr Imtiaz Ahmed said, in Myanmar, persecution of the Rohingyas has been quite deliberately constructed by the state since 1962.

Prominent scholars of Bangladesh participating in the webinar on Rohingya genocide organized by CFISS on
Sunday, November 1, 2020 | Courtesy

Since the 1990s, monks, monasteries and religious schools have become increasingly important in the lives of many Burmese.

Also, their role in the 1988 and 2007 uprisings has given the monks a great deal of moral authority as a political force also.

In late 2013, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) supported the idea that the holders of so-called “white cards” (that is, Rohingyas who lack normal citizenship) would be able to vote on constitutional reforms, but Buddhist nationalists immediately protested the move and the USDP was forced to back down.

Thien Sein later declared that all “white cards” would expire in March 2015 and armed groups of security personnel carried out the removal of the last official documents from the possessions of the Rohingyas.

The 2014 census saw a deliberate exclusion of the Rohingyas, as they were forced to choose to register either as “Bengalis” or be excluded. 

Post-2015 election, for the first time since independence, the parliament in Myanmar had no Muslim members from any ethnic group. 

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