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A necessary push

  • Published at 11:53 pm November 16th, 2019
Camps
Photo: MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

The UNGA has taken a crucial step in the right direction

Perhaps the biggest human rights violation of our times, the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population in Myanmar has resulted in hundreds of thousands migrating across the border to Bangladesh, in what is now the world’s largest refugee camp.

In spite of the facts being so clear, there has not been enough tangible action from the world community so far, but now, it is good to see the pressure mount on the Myanmar regime after the United Nations General Assembly has finally taken a clear stance.

The Third Committee of the UNGA has adopted a draft resolution, asking Myanmar to demonstrate genuine political goodwill to ensure the safe and sustainable return of the Rohingya, a resolution introduced by Saudi Arabia and jointly sponsored by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the EU.

Myanmar has, in the past, done its best to drag its feet on the repatriation process, by insincerely offering to take back refugees; there were no assurances of their safety and security, and international watchdogs and human rights bodies were not allowed to monitor the situation.

Case in point, Myanmar continues to challenge the International Criminal Court’s investigation into its army’s alleged crimes against humanity as not being in accordance with international laws.

While most of the world stood by silently, watching the destruction of an entire ethnic minority in their own country, Bangladesh stepped up and provided the fleeing Rohingya shelter. However, given our country’s finite resources and already unsustainable population, the situation is less than tenable, to say the least.

Whether the resolution results in Myanmar finally repatriating their own countrymen while also ensuring their safety and security remains to be seen. But in terms of having the world community on board with taking action to end this crisis, the UNGA has taken a crucial step in the right direction.