New Delhi: The South Asian region is facing a huge humanitarian crisis. The mass exodus of Rohingyas from the Rakhine state of Myanmar to escape alleged persecution has put a massive strain on neighbouring Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has declared she will not turn away the refugees. But the Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Moazzem Ali has clarified that his “PM has given temporary shelter.”
Bangladesh wants the global community to put adequate pressure on Myanmar to start the verification process as promised by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi at the United Nations General Assembly and facilitate the repatriation of the Rohingyas. The Bangladesh High Commissioner told News 18 that, “We will be willing to take part in the joint verification scheme as suggested by Kofi Annan.”
Bangladesh says it wants the refugees to return to their country as soon as possible so that the “threat they pose to international peace and security can be eliminated.” Syed Moazzem Ali said, “Having 800,000 displaced people in our country is a major security risk for all of us. They could fall into the wrong hands and be utilised by vested quarters to destabilise the region.”
The High Commissioner though questioned the perception regarding the community. It is being viewed with suspicion and being linked to terrorism. He said a vast majority of those seeking shelter are women and children. He also objected to the terminology Rohingya Muslims saying they are Muslims, Christians, and Hindus. He said, “We have tens of thousands of Hindu Rohingya refugees who have also taken shelter in our country.”
India is also set to send back the 40,000 Rohingya refugees living across the country. The matter is being heard in the Supreme Court but the government is clear about its intent citing security threat. The onus is clearly on Myanmar to accept these people back into their folds promising to stop the alleged violence against the community.
The Kofi Annan Commission on Rakhine state had called for an acceleration of the citizenship verification process. The Commission said the rights of non-citizens who live in Myanmar should be regulated, and also sought clarification of residency rights. Bangladesh wants Myanmar to implement the commission’s interim solutions at the earliest.