• Tuesday, Nov 24, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:43 pm

ED: The world must keep the pressure on Myanmar

  • Published at 11:53 pm November 10th, 2020
Rohingya
Photo: MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Repatriation needs to happen at some point, with international observers allowed within Myanmar

When it comes to their stance towards the Rohingya, the Myanmar military and Aung San Suu Kyi are unlikely to change their tone any time soon -- that is the grim reality.

As Professor Ali Riaz, an expert on the subject, has pointed out, Suu Kyi does not see the Rohingya population as a legitimate part of the Myanmar population -- her anti-Rohingya stance in its essentially anti-Muslim sentiment solidifies her support base, and finally, the Myanmar military may not allow her to change her position. Rohingya repatriation, then, seems like a tall order, as Myanmar is unwilling to change its policies. There seems to be no guarantee that if repatriated, ethnic cleansing activities in Rakhine state will be discontinued.

The world community, then, must not only keep up the pressure on Myanmar, but raise it. Recently, the United States elected Joe Biden, whose foreign policy is likely to be different from his predecessor’s. The US, as an economic and military superpower, could be a key player in the Rohingya crisis if Biden’s administration shows the moral leadership and the right political will.

There are now well over a million Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh, and while our government has done its best to shelter and provide for them, this is not sustainable for a country where resources are limited even in the best of times. Repatriation needs to happen at some point, with international observers allowed within Myanmar to ensure the safety and human rights of the Rohingya. This will only be achievable through tough sanctions, and steady, focused, international pressure.

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