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POST TIME: 8 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 7 December, 2017 09:32:31 PM
UNHRC for comprehensive solution to Rohingya crisis

UNHRC for comprehensive 
solution to Rohingya crisis

With the world’s eyes fixed on Bangladesh and Myanmar over the recent displacement of more  than six hundred thousand Rohingyas fleeing torture and repression in Rakhine State, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) just adopted a resolution. It condemned the atrocities in Rakhine, the attack on Myanmar security posts that reportedly unleashed a ruthless reprisal, calling in the end, for a patient, well thought-out approach to deal with all aspects of the decades old imbroglio, which has now far reaching implications with world super powers often  vacillating in taking a firm stance.

 While we welcome the signing of an agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar to take back the people who fled Rakhine, it’s prudent to keep in mind that a hurried return of the people now living in camps in Bangladesh territory is hardly the solution to an intricate issue involving contentious matters like ethnic identity, voting rights and social recognition.

 Sending the people back when memories of burning, looting, detention and violation are fresh in memory seems like blatant flouting of the international law of non-refoulement.

  The UNHRC resolution has rightly called for an investigation into the atrocities before any such return can be triggered; also logical is the suggestion that before people start going back, there needs to be unequivocal commitment by the Myanmar administration plus her military that those who return will be provided security and, most importantly, social respect. So far, we have not heard anything from Myanmar that gives a clear indication that people going back will be guaranteed safety. Regrettably, they have not officially admitted to launching a heavy handed response to the attack on the security post, which led hundreds of thousands of people to flee to Bangladesh.

 In such a situation, sending Rohinyas back should not be the main priority. What is crucial now is to allow a UN led team to visit the ravaged Rakhine state and carry out an impartial investigation of the abuse of human rights plus gauge the overall socio-political mood. In  addition, Myanmar must be willing to come out in the open and refrain from staying behind the curtain. Unfortunately, persistent reluctance of major power players in the region to exert pressure in unison on Myanmar has only muddled the problem, allowing the latter to remain cavalier to calls by the United Nations and other human rights bodies. Sending humanitarian aid while equivocating on the global stage about a humanitarian crisis sends the message that when compared to hard core economic advantages, the moral imperative becomes insignificant.