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3 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 3 March, 2018 01:08:06 AM
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Addressing the plight of Rohingyas

Under the circumstances, Rohingyas’ first need is definitely safety followed by a minimum decent living
Sakib Hasan
Addressing the plight of Rohingyas
Three Nobel Peace Laureates in Cox’s Bazar to see the plights of Rohingyas

It is no longer a pressing question now when and how the Rohingyas temporarily living in the makeshift camps in the Cox’s Bazar of Bangladesh will be taken back straight into Myanmar. Their wretched living condition and the sub-human standard of the environs they are presently trapped in calls for better treatment than any other consideration at least from the humanitarian point of view. The just concluded visit of two Nobel Peace Laureates like Northern Ireland’s Mairead Maguire and Yemen’s Tawakkol Karman right into the Thyangkhali Rohingya camp in Ukhia has given the abjectly despicable sufferings of the Rohingya refugees a global emotional height. When the footage and the stills of these two Peace Laureates bursting into tears seeing the Rohingyas with their own eyes splash the headlines of the global media, the Rohingya issue receives an extra global attention pushing their just cause forward further before the global community.

With the direct involvement of more and more personalities of global stature, the genuinely humanitarian cause of the Rohingyas is slowly but steadily approaching towards an open-ended global platform. I believe that this is just the beginning of the success chapter of the Rohinhya episode. Although global dignitaries like Mrs. Erdogan, Mr. Erdogan and some other head of states visited Rohingya camps way back at the beginning of the humanitarian crisis, nothing tangible has been achieved especially in the diplomatic efforts regarding the safe and honourable return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar. Even more, during the last several months Rohingya crisis hardly got limelight coverage in the media.

In addition, the human rights chief of the UN Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussain has expressed his utter frustration in the latest developments concerning the human rights state across the globe. On last Monday he particularly described some places both in Syria and Myanmar as ‘‘some of the most prolific slaughter houses of humans.” Yes, some places of Northern Rakhine in Myanmar have really turned into practical slaughter houses for the Rohingya Muslims since their influx right into Bangladesh is yet to come to an end. They are still fleeing their lives into Bangladesh.

Already more than six lakhs Rohingya Muslims live in concentration camps-like temporary refugee shelter around Cox’s Bazar. Most of these camps are made up of the barest minimum materials like bamboo bars and thin polythene papers that are dangerously vulnerable to both even a gusty wind and a short shower. With the onset of the Baishakh the risk factors surrounding these flimsy shelters will definitely multiply even more dangerously. In a polythene house of 10/12 feet size around four to five people just sleep at night. Rohingya babies are born within these inhumanly compact accommodations. Even a kitten gets a more comfortable space when it is born. Water and sanitation are dearest ever commodities to them let alone the pure drinking water and hygienic sanitation. Depending upon the scantiest supplies the Rohingya babies are getting malnourished and underweight. Education is just a tantalizing dream for them.

Under the circumstances, Rohingyas’ first need is definitely safety followed by a minimum decent living. It is really tough for Bangladesh to fulfill all the basic needs of the Rohingyas because of the resource constraints. Providing them humanitarian shelter, Bangladesh has done the most commendable job. Now it is obviously the turn of the international community to reciprocate the most hospitable overtures shown by Bangladesh towards the Rohingyas. The visit of the two peace laureates will undeniably usher in a new era of bright chapter for the Rohingyas.

Like any free and sovereign country, Bangladesh has every right to defend her once her sovereignty and territorial integrity comes under challenge. Pushing the Rohingya Muslims right into the territory of Bangladesh is actually like violating the sovereignty of Bangladesh. If peaceful diplomatic efforts fail to strike an amicable deal with the Myanmar government, Bangladesh has to try other alternative and extreme options if the inflow of the Rohingya refugees continues unabated. Whatever may be the options and accords with the Myanmar, the Rohingyas already taken shelter in Bangladesh, must be kept in safe custody at least with the help of the external donations and contributions.

The dilly-dallying tactic of the Myanmar government has long been known to us all. From the ground realities and the way they are dealing with us has made me skeptic about their sincerity and good will in implementing the Rohingya repatriation deal. Time is fast running out for Myanmar to implement the repatriation deal since Bangladesh can hardly afford any further delay.

No doubt, Myanmar maintains good relations with China and Russia. However, I personally believe that this good relation hardly makes the whole equation here. Since Bangladesh does also have a very positive relation with both the countries, though vetoed against economic sanctions, they will directly not be involved once anything untoward ever occurs between Myanmar and Bangladesh. It is really painful to accept that Bangladesh will always willingly be on the back foot in dealing with Myanmar. It is time for Bangladesh to raise its voice stronger and louder towards Myanmar.        

 The writer, Assistant, Professor of English in Bogra Cantonment Public School & College, is a contributor to The Independent

E-mail: shasanbogra1@gmail.com

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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