Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, in her speech at the UN General Assembly on Friday, presented a five-point proposal to stop the violence, killing and persecution in Myanmar. Her words echoed the appeal of Bangladesh and peace-loving people around the world. She said that the United Nations and the world community cannot remain silent when ethnic oppression takes place in any country. She said Bangladesh may have given the Rohingyas shelter on humanitarian grounds, but the international community has a responsibility.
It is unfortunate that though Rohingya Muslims have been living in Myanmar for centuries, the government there continues to deprive them of their citizenship, their fundamental and human rights. After the 25 August attack on police and army posts, the army has been using that as an excuse to carry out unprecedented persecution o the Rohingyas, forcing them to flee from the country. And this is happening during the rule of Nobel Peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
The prime minister has proposed that the US secretary general send an investigative team to Myanmar and that all citizens regardless of ethnicity or religion be provided security. She also proposed a security belt under UN supervision and the implementation of the Kofi Annan recommendations. The implementation of these matters may take time, but it must start now.
The global community must ensure that Myanmar creates an environment conducive to the return of this largest population of stateless people. In the past, various countries have played a positive role in the UN in the peace process. We have seen that the UN security council has played positive roles in halting political violence in many countries. It is hoped that they will play a bold role in stopping the oppression of the Rohingyas in Myanmar and in the repatriation of the refugees from Bangladesh. Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi herself has spoken about implementing the Kofi Annan report recommendations.
Sheikh Hasina reiterated her government’s policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and militancy. She said that we do not want war, we want peace. We want economic development, not human destruction. We want human welfare. The struggle against local and foreign forces involved in destroying peace and human welfare must continue.