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  • Last Update : 12:28 am

Ensure their safety first

  • Published at 05:01 pm February 14th, 2018
  • Last updated at 12:35 pm February 15th, 2018
Ensure their safety first
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is right: It is about time the international community put pressure on Myanmar to safely repatriate the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled across the border into Bangladesh. But Myanmar’s recent actions, including threatening the Rohingya on the no man’s land situated between Myanmar and Bangladesh, have been nothing short of a direct rejection of the good faith put into the repatriation deal. The Rohingya must go back home, but first, their safety in Myanmar must be guaranteed -- and this responsibility falls squarely on the Myanmar government. Bangladesh has risen to the immense challenge of providing a safe haven for the Rohingya, and the government deserves praise for doing the right thing in a time of humanitarian crisis. However, the rest of the world also needs to do the right thing, and this means putting pressure on Myanmar to stop the killing and the human rights abuses against the Rohingya. Does Myanmar have any such intention yet? Global watchdog Human Rights Watch has reported that Myanmar has been setting up camps for the refugees, which would effectively function as open-air detention camps. A recent Reuters report provided grisly details and photographs of Rohingya killings at the hands of local people aided by the government, in case there was any doubt as to the reality of the plight of the Rohingya in the Rakhine state. The world needs to be tough with Myanmar for repatriation to be a realistic goal. Ultimately, the onus is on Myanmar to create a situation which allows for the voluntary return of the Rohingya people. Anything short of an active and honest dedication to welcoming the Rohingya as full-fledged citizens is unacceptable.
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