As the Rohingya issue becomes an international concern, it is important for Bangladesh to step up its diplomatic efforts in this regard. The prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s proposals placed at the UN general assembly were addressed to the international community. It will be difficult to take these proposals forward to repatriate the Rohingyas without support from the international community. So a lot depends on the success of Bangladesh’s diplomacy.
The heads of state and government and representatives of many countries addressed the UN general assembly on the Rohingya issue. Then again, the leaders of many countries did not bring up the issue at all, which, in effect, went in favour of Myanmar.
At the end of the session, seven member countries called for a meeting of the Security Council to discuss the violence against Rohingyas in Myanmar’s Arakan state. These seven countries include three permanent members of the Security Council - the US, UK and France. Bangladesh needs to up its diplomatic efforts with this meeting in view.
It is clear that Myanmar will not halt the annihilation of Rohingyas and genocide in Arakan without pressure from the international community. International initiative is also required for the Rohingyas to return to their homeland. The global community must be made to understand that Myanmar’s policy against the Rohingyas is totally unacceptable. It must be shown how the anti-Rohingya stance of the Myanmar government has led to this situation. While Bangladesh has no hand in this problem, it is having to bear the burden of one million Rohingya refugees. This needs a permanent solution.
Bangladesh should also let the international community know that it has taken a zero tolerance stand against any terrorism or militancy centered on the Rohingya issue. Many countries tend to see the anti-Rohingya ethnic cleansing as a move against Islamic extremists. From the very outset, the Myanmar authorities have tried to depict their anti-Rohingya operations as a drive against ‘Muslim militants’. Skilled and pragmatic diplomacy can correct such misconceptions.
We expect the government to take up a holistic and effective diplomatic strategy and act accordingly.