The active role of the Rohingya diaspora will contribute to accelerating the repatriation process

The 1.2 million Rohingyas are now staying in the camps inside Bangladesh. They are living in limbo


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The active role of the Rohingya diaspora will contribute to accelerating the repatriation process


 

The 1.2 million Rohingyaare now staying in the camps inside Bangladesh. They are living in limbo as they await repatriation to Myanmar for more than five years. A permanent solution to the Rohingya problem lies in safe, sustainable and dignified repatriation to Myanmar. This will only be possible through appropriate measures and the creation of an enabling environment in Myanmar's political and social environment. Time is passing very fast but the progress in this regard is not at all promising. There is no substantial forum or support group sympathetic to the Rohingyas. This weakness has been perceived since the beginning of the crisis, but no successful efforts have been made to address this issue.

After the military coup in Myanmar National UnityGovernment (NUG) has been formed, they released a position paper titled 'Policy Position on the Rohingya in Rakhine State' recognizing their identity as 'Rohingya'. This recognition gives an idea of ??the changing position of Myanmar's pro-democracy parties. Earlier, the Myanmar government and the military had been claiming that there was no such entity in Myanmar as 'Rohingya'. In addition to recognizing the citizenship and rights of the Rohingyas, the position paper also called for the cancellation of the 'National Verification Card' which marks the Rohingyas as foreigners and changes in the Citizenship Act of 1982. Almost all the demands of the Rohingya’s are reflected in the commitments stated in the position paper of the NUG.

Since the Rohingya crisis began in 2017, Myanmar's politicians have not been seen speaking up for the rights of the Rohingya in this way. In addition, Arakan's ruling political party United League of Arakan (ULA) and its military wingArakan Army’s (AA), Commander-in-Chief Major General Twan Mrat Naing said that they accept the Rohingyas as Muslim residents of Rakhine and recognize the human and civil rights of the Rohingyas. This acceptance is a positive indication that their attitude towards the Rohingyahas changed and this is a significant step for resolving this crisis.Acceptance of the Rohingyas in the political circles of Myanmar and in the local politics of Arakan will accelerate the solution of the crisis.

Through this declaration, the NUG has given the Rohingyas an opportunity to integrate into the mainstream of Myanmar.In this regard, iRohingya representation is there in NUG then their demands cannot be ignored during future negotiations. The NUG seeks recognition and support in the international arena and is keen to grow its supporters within the country.

Rohingya diaspora should make use of this opportunity to raise their voices in favour of this initiative in the international arena. Participation of Rohingyas in this political initiative is an important decision. Migrant Rohingya leaders can continue to engage with the NUG and Arakan's ruling political party to mend the division and take initiatives to bring back the centuries-old coexistence and tolerance of these two ethnicities. Rohingya diaspora should be more vibrant and raise their voice in different international forums for the solution to this crisis.  

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Mother of Humanity, extended her helping hand to the Rohingyas by giving them shelter in Bangladesh on humanitarian ground.Since then, Bangladesh and the international community have been working seriously to resolve the Rohingya crisis.Rohingyas are becoming frustrated with prolonged uncertainty over their repatriation, prompting many of them to engage in criminal activities. Along with that, an anti-repatriation group is disrupting peace and security of the camps by engaging in various criminal activities.

The Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH) plays an active role in assisting Rohingyas to regain their Myanmar citizenship and prevent trafficking to different countries. The chairman of this organization, Mr. Muhibullah, used to oppose the Rohingyas' murder, rape, extortion, drug trade and various other crimes. Anti-Rohingya terrorist organizations premeditatedly killed him on the night of September 29, 2021, thinking that Muhibullah could pose a threat to their future activities.

At present, the anti-Rohingya repatriation terrorist organizations are disrupting the country's security through various types of violence within Bangladesh, which is by no means desirable. The Rohingya leaders and diaspora should take initiative for a permanent solution to the crisis by developing relations with NUG and AA instead of creating a law and order situation inside Bangladesh. Rohingya’s staying in the camps inside Bangladesh organized 'Go Home' program ahead of World Refugee Day on 19 June 2022.Through this program, they try to attract the attention of the world community to put pressure on the Myanmar government to fulfill their seven-point demands.

In 2018, a UN "fact-finding mission" reported that the military operations of the Myanmar army included "acts of genocide". The United States officially recognized the killing of the Rohingya minority by the military in Myanmar on 21 March 2022 as a 'genocide and crime against humanity'. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken officially announced the US recognition at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. This recognition is a strong and important step in holding the Myanmar junta accountable. Due to these reasons, Myanmar's military government is now under some pressure.

War is always an impediment to development, peace and prosperity. After nearly 70 years of military rule, Myanmar's democratic transition began in 2015 before the military regained power in 2021 following elections in 2020.

Clashes have been going on across the country for more than a year, which has never lasted so long in the past. So long Myanmar army had been engaged in civil war for decades with ethnic minorities but they have never been confronted directly in conflict with the majority Bamar population. 

Growing up in Myanmar's short-lived democratic environment, many of the youth community are liberal-minded and continue their struggle against the current ruling government. Rohingya diaspora can support this struggle against the military rule as well as inspire Rohingya youth to work in favour of this democratic force. Myanmar's majority Bamar community, vigilante youth and minority ethnic groups are currently in conflict with the military, facing organized attacks on the military.

The NLD was already working to end ethnic violence in Myanmar. In 2014, two months before his deathNLD co-founder Win Tin met radical Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu at his monastery in Mandalay on the acceptance of Rohingyasby the radical Buddhist organization, but their meeting was over without any progress. NLD during their tenure in power refrained from commenting on the Rohingya crisis as they were in the dilemma of losing the party's popularity for them. In a majority Buddhist country and the nascent democratic environment, they were not ready to take the risk of losing the popularity of the majority Bamar community as well as the Myanmar military. Atrocities against the Rohingyas took place in 2017, at that time NLD was in power and they did not do anything. Currently, this initiative of NLD proves that they have shifted from their previous position and trying to build a peaceful and democratic Myanmar with all ethnic groups.

If democracy continues to prevail in Myanmar, this problem will also be solved one day, which is currently being disrupted. Although the results of this initiative will be very slow the benefits will be far-reaching. 

Therefore, this opportunity should not be neglected and there is a need for the Rohingya diaspora and the Rohingya of Myanmar to involve them and move forward in support of this initiative without delay. In addition to applying pressure from the international community, the repatriation process will be faster and easier if Rohingyas are accepted in the social and political atmosphere of Myanmar, particularly the Rakhinestate of Myanmar.

By; Brig Gen (Retd) Hasan Md Shamsuddin, ndc, afwc, psc, MPhil, Researcher on Myanmar, Rohingya and ASEAN affairs.

 


Copyright: Fresh Angle International (www.freshangleng.com)
ISSN 2354 - 4104


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