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Forcing Rohingyas inhumanly to Bangladesh and need for strong response

By Editorial Desk
27th-Nov-2016       
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The most recent spate of violence in Myanmar began in early October, when soldiers and police officers were killed by a group of 300 or so armed men, according to State media reports.

That sparked an intense crackdown by the Burmese military in which dozens of people have been killed and at least 230 arrested. Rights groups estimate the total death toll could be in the hundreds.

Rakhine State is home to a large population of Rohingya Muslims, a stateless ethnic minority that has faced discrimination and persecution for years. The Myanmar government's official position denies recognition of the term "Rohingya" and regards them as illegal Bengali migrants.

Essentially the military is carrying out a "cleansing operation" against Muslims in the region, and international crimes such as rape against women and murder are occurring, as per statements of the refugees who have fled Myanmar and are in Bangladesh. The Burmese Military Regime is also notorious for rampant use of sexual violence as an instrument of control, including allegations of systematic rapes and taking of sex slaves by the military, a practice which continued in 2012.

Rakhine State authorities were talking about a plan to demolish Muslim-owned properties prior to the October attacks. It would appear that strategy is in some ways being carried out in another context. The military actions of the Burmese government represent a continuous effort by them to push the Rohingyas into Bangladesh. This is unacceptable as the Rohingyas are Myanmar citizens -- having lived in the country for centuries, despite the perception by Myanmar citizens that they are Bangladeshis.

Therefore the "Rohingya problem" is a creation of the Myanmar government. The UN itself is calling the actions a calculated genocide by Myanmar to force the Rohingya to move to an already overpopulated and resource impoverished Bangladesh. This cannot be acceptable -- just because they are Muslims doesn't mean that they should be pushed to Bangladesh. Thailand has a greater percentage of Muslims as a percentage of its population who are predominantly Malay, but we do not see them pushing the Malays to Malaysia.

Whatever the situation on the ground, the world, and especially the hapless Rohingyas, deserve more action from a Nobel Peace laureate like Suu Kyi -- who is herself a victim of military action. Her inaction is especially shameful as she is an iconic figure for world peace, but she is now looking like an appeaser who is bowing to the wishes of the army or a group of racists. The country belongs to Rohingyas as much to other citizens.

 But the perception that they are outsiders are completely wrong as the term Rohingya has been in use since the 1700s.

Bangladesh, as the home to almost a quarter of the total world Rohingya population needs to do more to ensure their ultimate rehabilitation. Myanmar has almost four times our land area with only a third of our population. It is completely unacceptable that we should shoulder the burden of hosting almost 5,00,000 of their citizens for almost forty years. Our Foreign Ministry has to do more in terms of active diplomacy to ensure that the problem is resolved. Merely calling the Ambassador of Myanmar and registering protests will do little to solve the problem. We must take the problem to the world stage and look for a solution. As the most affected nation by the actions of the Myanmar government, we need to take more concrete steps to ensure a solution which represents the best interests of the Rohingyas. We want the Foreign Ministry to pursue fruitful diplomacy. Enjoying foreign trips or calling an ambassador to the Foreign Ministry is not diplomacy.

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