POST TIME: 3 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
‘Genocide important term in Rohingya crisis’
DU Correspondent

‘Genocide important term in Rohingya crisis’

The term “genocide” was important in the context of the Rohingya crisis, but the UN is still to officially use it in the matter. Also, there is a need to talk about the cause of the crisis. Scholars expressed these views during the closing ceremony of a two-day international conference titled “Rohingya: Politics, ethnic cleansing and uncertainty” yesterday evening. The conference was hosted by the Dhaka University (DU) criminology department at the varsity’s senate building.

Speaking at the panel discussion, Prof. Salimullah Khan, director of the Centre of Advanced Theory and also a teacher at University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), said: “Genocide is one word that is very much important in the case of Myanmar’s treatment against the Rohingyas. But Myanmar is completing denying it.”

“Genocide doesn't only mean killing people. It also means that a country is trying to destroy a particular community or a country is conspiring for ethnic cleansing through mass killings,” he added.

Appealing for an international trial against the authorities in the neighbouring country, Salimullah said: “Myanmar has been denying the citizenship of Rohingya people for over 200 years now. The authorities there have been planning an ethnic cleansing for a long time. There are lot of documents on genocide and there are international laws too. So the Myanmar authorities should stand trial in an international court of law."

“Myanmar has always termed Rohingyas as Bangladeshis and pushing them to Bangladesh. But why is not giving them to Bangladesh with the land inhabited by them?” he added.

Prof. Abul Barakat of the DU economics department, said: “We're always talking about the effects of the Rohingya crisis, but we do not talk about the cause behind it.”

Barakat argued that the real reason for the persecution of Rohingyas pertained to economic benefits for the neighbouring country. “Myanmar is one of the richest countries in terms of mineral resources. Most of these resources are found in the Rohingya-inhabited areas, especially in Rakhine state. So, Myanmar wants to clear the area through ethnic cleansing and pushing the Rohingya people into Bangladesh. Moreover, China wants to invest in those areas for mineral resources and that is why it’s supporting Myanmar indirectly,” he said.

On his part, Papa Kysma Sylla, the deputy representative of UNHCR, said: “Till now, the UNHCR has not used the word genocide officially, but the UN body is looking at the evidence of genocide and we are close to it.”

The experts also said that the Rohingya crisis was not only a problem between Bangladesh and Myanmar, but a global issue. However, the problem should be resolved internally, they said, adding that the solution was still a far way off.

Prof. Zia Rahman, head of DU’s criminology department, moderated the panel discussion. Prof. Anisuzaman of DU’s philosophy department also participated in the event. Around 50 scholars from Bangladesh, the USA, India, Nepal and Brunei presented 72 papers at the international conference during 21 sessions.