Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, May 26th, 2019

Rohingya Crisis: Bangladesh Takes Actions Positively to Resolve it

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Rohingya Crisis: Bangladesh Takes  Actions Positively to Resolve it

Rohingya people are one of the minority groups suffering the most severe oppressions in the world. Rohingya people refer to the stateless group, who are India-Aryan race not accepted by the Myanmar Government, live in Rakhine State of Myanmar, and believe in the Islam. Rohingya people are generally called as “Bengali” by Myanmar government and the public, meaning that they are Bengalese. In 1977, Myanmar President Ne Win, Myanmar Immigration Office and military troops joined hands to carry out “Operation Nagamin”. Myanmar government implemented ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people, Myanmar troops arrested, expelled, tortured, raped and murdered Rohingya people, and consequently 200,000-250,000 Rohingya people fled to Bangladesh. This is the starting point for Rohingya people to be recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and also for Bangladesh to receive Rohingya refugees.
By September 28, 2018, as many as 1.1 million Rohingya people had sought shelter in Bangladesh. Some scholars think that “the Rohingya issue” causes the security predicament of Bangladesh, and “Rohingya people” exiled to Bangladesh are confronted against the lack of security and a worrying future. Plus, some Rohingya people associate with local Islam extremists, and they also occupy resources. All of these have added the security and economic burdens of Bangladesh, and brought troubles for Myanmar-Bangladesh relations.
Bangladesh takes actions actively to resolve the Rohingya people issue. Although Rohingya people have caused many governance issues to Bangladesh, Bangladesh spares no efforts to provide humanitarian aids to Rohingya people within its territory, such as food, clothes and medical treatment. Bangladesh has called upon the international community to get involved in resolving Rohingya people issues and creating the international public opinion environment. In September 2018, for instance, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appealed to the United Nations and the international community to attach due importance to the violence and injustice suffered by  Rohingya people in the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. In the bilateral field, Bangladesh has had negotiations with Myanmar, China, etc. actively to resolve the Rohingya people issue, and after many negotiations, Bangladesh and Myanmar have reached an agreement concerning repatriating Rohingya people in Bangladesh (However, so far the agreement is not well fulfilled). Targeting at the Rohingya people issue, Bangladesh has discussions and negotiations with China, and it hopes China could play a role in resolving the problem. Mr. Wang Yi, the Foreign Minister of China, raised the “Three-Step” suggestions concerning this issue, which are supported by Bangladesh, Myanmar and the international community. Bangladesh has mobilized its domestic resources to provide relief as much as possible to Rohingya people.
The measures taken by Bangladesh to resolve the Rohingya people issue fully reflect that Bangladesh is a responsible and independent country with teamwork spirits. The United Nations put the Bangladesh onto the list of the least developed countries in 1975. Bangladesh has witnessed rapid socioeconomic development during recent years, and its economy has maintained the growth rate above 6%. In March 2018, the U.N. Committee for Development Policy announced that Bangladesh should become a developing country from “the least developed country”. The Bangladesh is working hard to improve its national economy and comprehensive strengths. However, according to the data from the World Bank, Bangladesh has a population of over 160 million, of which 21.4% of its people live under the poverty line. Under such circumstances, Bangladesh does not refuse the needs of Rohingya refugees to flee here and seek for shelter, and instead it provides humanitarian aids to them initiatively, admits the status of Rohingya people as refugees, works actively with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and offers aids and shelter for Rohingya refugees. The humanitarian aids provided by the Bangladesh to Rohingya people are obvious to all, and Bangladesh plays a “leading” role in the refugee issues, and makes an example to resolve the regional refugee crisis. Therefore, Bangladesh not only builds its national image as a quite responsible country, but also plays a positive role in facilitating the refugee issue settlement.
When dealing with the Rohingya people issues, Bangladesh displays its independent diplomacy characteristics. Most developing countries consider the “Herd Effects” as its diplomacy policies, attach themselves to great powers in terms of international actions or economic trade, and even yield to the opinions of great powers in issues which may affect their national security. However, Bangladesh has set an example for developing countries when dealing with the Rohingya people issues, and made its diplomatic gestures as a third world country perfectly. Rohingya people have flooded into Bangladesh since 1977 continuously, and the U.S. and E.U. have requested the Bangladesh to receive Rohingya refugees. However, the Bangladeshi Government does not compromise, and it has sufficient negotiations and discussions with Myanmar government and requires the Rohingya issue to be resolved in a proper way. Furthermore, the Bangladesh also calls upon the United Nations to put pressure on Myanmar, and to provide the safest and most appropriate shelter for Rohingya refugees. When resolving the refugee crisis, Bangladesh also safeguards state sovereignty and stays away from influence of great power politics. In terms of international relations, Bangladesh displays the influence and initiative as a developing country to other countries, and shows the independent, democratic and peaceful diplomatic gestures.
Bangladesh is an open country with teamwork spirit. “It’s easy to break off one chopstick, but it’s hard to break a dozen”. One country is powerless to deal with the refugee issues, but many countries working together can handle the issue more effectively, and even strengthen regional peace and exchanges. When severe disasters occur, some countries would not like to reveal crisis and therefore refuse aids from other countries or international organizations, in an attempt to protect their images, so untimely rescue which misses the golden time for disaster relief, etc. will be caused, and more severe crisis will be triggered. Bangladesh shows a good style and spirits when facing and dealing with Rohingya refugee issues. In order to resolve the Rohingya people issue, the UNHCR entered into the Bangladesh officially in 1992, provided capital and in-kind aids for refugees and played the role as a coordinator. In the meanwhile, Bangladesh invited the UNHCR as the third party to coordinate with the refugee issues between Bangladesh and Myanmar, the MOU was signed successfully by the two countries, and Rohingya refugees were repatriated to Myanmar. Bangladesh conducted negotiations with Myanmar actively and called upon neighboring countries to resolve the Rohingya crisis fundamentally. In this way, Bangladesh proves to be a friendly, open and inclusive country with teamwork spirits.
The Rohingya people issue still exists, so Bangladesh and the international community need to make more collective efforts. It has been 30 years since Rohingya refugee crisis occurred, but the issue has not been handled properly, and it has been a regional and even international non-traditional security issue. The Bangladesh has worked together with the UNHCR, international organizations and NGOs to provide relief to Rohingya refugees, but the Rohingya people issue is complicated and factors like the history, nationality, religion, etc. are involved. In spite of efforts made by all parties, the issue is not settled properly.  Like Bangladesh, China is a developing country and its economic society is on the upswing. In order to develop itself, Bangladesh needs to maintain friendly partnership with neighboring countries and handle problems occurring in cooperation properly. Considering the complicated and long-term Rohingya people issue, countries in the region and the international community need to hold the consultative and cooperative attitude, have negotiations actively, establish the Rohingya refugee crisis handling mechanism, facilitate the issue to be settled together, and promote the regional stability and development. China would like to join hands with the Bangladesh, create the peaceful, developmental and prosperous “Amar Shonar Bangla”, and promote the construction of the community of shared future for the mankind.

Author: Sun Xiqin, Assistant Research Fellow, Yunnan Academy of Social Science; Luo Andi, Scholar, Yunnan University; Qin Ruijing, Scholar,Yunnan Academy of Social Science, P.R. China

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