Dhaka,  Thursday
25 July 2024

Can Bangladesh afford a new Rohingya influx?

Published: 08:30, 9 June 2024

Can Bangladesh afford a new Rohingya influx?

Photo: Collected

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Liz Throssell urged Bangladesh and other states to effectively protect Myanmar's minority Rohingya community amid the fleeing of the Rohingya community from the ongoing fighting in Myanmar. According to Throssell, over one million Rohingya sought refuge in Bangladesh and about 45,000 Rohingya sought protection from the fighting by fleeing to the vicinity of the Naf River, which is located close to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

This news is very alarming and unwanted for Bangladesh. Because, Bangladesh has faced the problems and is suffering due to the reasons of the Rohingya community. More than 14–15 lacs Rohingyas are living in Bangladesh. The environmental disasters are happening due to the cutting down trees and hills of the Ukhia upazilla. As part of the preservation of human rights, the human rights organisation and the responsible authority may request that Bangladesh to afford the influx of Rohingya. But, how does it possible? Why dont they afford the Rohingya?

Throssell stated that the ongoing fighting displaced tens of thousands of Rohingya individuals in the towns of Buthidaung and Maungdaw in Rakhine, Myanmar. Buthidaung was burned two days after the Arakan army, in conflict with Myanmars ruling military junta, allegedly gained control of the town upon the juntas retreat. Survivors who fled Buthidaung said the Arakan army abused and extorted money from them while they fled to other Rohingya villages outside the town.

In response to reports of shootings at unarmed fleeing villages, beheadings and the burning of homes of the Rohingya community by the junta and Arakan army, the UN Human Rights Office wrote, Civilians are once more victimised, killed, their properties destroyed and looted, their demands for safety and security ignored, and they are again forced to flee their homes in a recurring nightmare of suffering. Throssell urged for an immediate end to the violence and for refugees to be protected regardless of identity.

The High Commissioner calls on Bangladesh and other states to provide effective protection to those seeking it, in line with international law, and to ensure international solidarity with Bangladesh in hosting Rohingya refugees in Myanmar. Prompt and unhindered humanitarian relief must be allowed to flow, and all parties must comply fully and unconditionally with international law, including measures already ordered by the ICJ, for the protection of Rohingya.

The Rohingya are a minority Muslim community that predominantly lives in Rakhine, Myanmar. A report released in January alleged that ethnic and religious minorities in the majority Buddhist country are being targeted by the military. In March, a UN official expressed concerns for the Rohingya community as the juntas attacks impacted the Rohingya community to the largest extent.

Previously, on January 16, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Indonesia to safeguard the well-being of Rohingya refugees who sought refuge in Indonesia, where increasing insecurity and tension have prompted refugees to seek refuge instead of neighbouring Bangladesh. HRW urged Indonesian authorities to cease all pushbacks of boats carrying Rohingya refugees, allow refugees to disembark in the nearest safe port and provide protection and humanitarian assistance to them.

Report stated that; the Rohingya people started seeking refuge in Bangladesh as early as 1978. The first influx in 1978 consisted of 250,000 Rohingyas and the second in 1991–1992 was of similar number. During this time, UNHCR established 20 camps in Coxs Bazar district for the Rohingya refugees. In 1993–1997, 230,000 Rohingya refugees were repatriated back to Myanmar. After that, in 2017, the largest number of people (655,000) fled Myanmar and sought refuge in Bangladesh. From 2017 to 2019, the total number of refugees increased to 826,485 with the influx of new refugees.

The international organisation and human rights activists requested to protect the human rights of the Rohingya people. But they don't give any statements against the military government of Myanmar. They should ask to the Myanmar government why their military force the Rohingya to get out from country and destroy their property. Not only that, the international responsible authority should create a situation in where the rest of the world banned the govt. of Myanmar. 

It is known that the peoples of the Rohingya community are deprived and exploited by the military government of Myanmar. So, it is necessary to create pressure before the military government so that they are obliged to stop the violation of the human rights of the Rohingya people. It is noted that some of the terrorist organisations regulate their activities in the Rohingya camp and day by day, their activities can shape a large size. So, it is a big deal for us to send the Rohingya at the Arakan state. In this situation, the responsible authority should stand for the security and safety of Bangladesh. For the discussion, it is said that Bangladesh cannot afford the new Rohingya influx. The environmental disaster and increase of temperature occurs different types of disease in the Ukhiya upazilla. Therefore, it is totally impossible that; Bangladesh can't afford any more Rohingyas as refuge.

The writer is Assistant Professor and Chairman, Department of Criminology and Police Science, University of Chittagong.