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19 November, 2018 12:41:08 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 November, 2018 10:54:46 AM
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Dhaka makes little progress to persuade China, Russia, India

UN VOTE ON ROHINGYAS
HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN, Dhaka
Dhaka makes little progress to persuade China, Russia, India

The vote on Rohingya crisis at the third committee of the United General Assembly (UNGA), which deals with the issues in relations to human rights and humanitarian affairs, has proved that Dhaka failed to make progress with regard to persuading major international players including China, Russia and India as well as Bangladesh’s other neighbours, according to serving and retired senior diplomats. There was a similar voting at the third committee on the same issue in November, last year and the voting pattern is almost same though not identical, they said. Though the draft resolution condemning the rights violations in Myanmar was approved by a huge margin, 10 countries including China and Russia voted against while there were 26 abstentions including country’s first neighbour India and other neighbours like Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The voting shows, the diplomats told The Independent yesterday, that the Bangladesh diplomacy either does not have or could not have any leverages to bring these countries to its fold in the last one year. It also projects that Myanmar has been able to prove itself to these countries more worthy than Bangladesh. Despite repeated attempts, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque could not be reached for his comment on the outcome of the voting on Friday.

Requesting anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to the media, two senior diplomats, however, said that it would have been better if Bangladesh could bring along some of the countries that have influence over Myanmar.

They claimed that some countries decide to vote against or abstain if the resolution is country-specific because those states also have problems regarding human rights.

“All I can say is that we have tried our best. But, perhaps our best was not enough. We have no choice but to continue trying in this regard,” said a diplomat.

“What else can you do when major countries like China, Russia and India prefer geopolitical and economic interests over life and death of hundreds of thousands of people,” said another diplomat. “We can only hope that these countries will fulfil their obligations about universal human rights,” he said.

“In the last one year, I haven’t I noticed any change in regards to the effort to persuade these important countries having influence on Myanmar to support us,” former Foreign Secretary Touhid Hossain said.

“The equation, here, is quite simple. Myanmar has more leverages than we do and Myanmar is much more attractive to China, Russia and India than us,” he said, adding, “Look, we don’t live in an ideal world.”

The former top diplomat also said, “We have to device new ways to convince these countries to support us.”

When asked if it the foreign ministry which has failed, he said, “I’ll put it this way. I didn’t see any major change. The position of the countries we are talking about remained the same and these countries can make a difference.” “Unfortunately, religion is also playing a part here,” he added.

“As Myanmar is heavily engaged with China, Russia and India, we are also engaged with them significantly. China is our strategic partner and we import most of our arms from them and many other goods. Our involvement with Russia is worth billions of dollars including arms. And, India is our first neighbour and we have done quite a lot for them including addressing their security concerns,” said Ambassador Humayun Kabir, a former secretary of the foreign ministry and permanent representative at the UN in Geneva.

“Given such a situation, why can’t we take the advantages like the way Myanmar is taking?” he said, adding that the country cannot even manage the votes of the neighbours.

“We should be much more pragmatic in our approach to bring these countries abroad. These three countries can help resolve the Rohingya crisis in a big way,” said Kabir.

MK

 

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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.

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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