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07th-Feb-2017

Refugee crisis being foolishly removed from international attention

By Editorial Desk

It appears surprising that amid diplomatic row with the Myanmar government to take back Rohingya refugees from their temporary shelter at Cox's Bazar areas, why the Bangladesh government is suddenly planning to relocate the Rohingyas to Thengar Char at Hatiya island in the Bay of Bengal.  The plan which Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali briefed the UN and other officials of International agencies on Sunday in the city seems to have emerged to many as an unanticipated move without any public opinion on the critical issue.

The fact is that why the government has taken the plan; many wonder what compulsion is forcing it to jump to such a decision. Another question is whether in doing so the government has weighed its negative impacts on Bangladesh's diplomatic efforts to force Myanmar to take back its refugees. Many also fear that such move will reduce pressure on the International Community to find a solution to return the stateless people to their homes. Be it a temporary plan as the Minister has said or not -- any resettlement of Rohingya refugees within Bangladesh will drastically diminish the chance of their return to their homes and a time will come soon when Bangladesh will have no option but to accept them as regular citizens.

We don't know what is the outcome of Bangladesh government diplomacy on Rohingya issues but latest indications suggest it is nowhere around a situation to open meaningful discussion with Myanmar government when that country is trying to unload its ethnic crisis on our shoulder. Despite last week's OIC meeting, nothing that can bring hope to resolve the issue is visible except a visit by three members of the Myanmar Commission to some temporary Rohingyas refugee shelters in Cox's Bazar areas few days back. Representative of the UN Human Rights Commission has meanwhile warned of renewed persecution of Rohingyas who are still holding on their ground. 

It appears that diplomatically the government is almost alone on the issue without effective support from major powers. Meanwhile we can't accept yet another unfortunate stateless people like the Palestinians in Bangladesh. The government resettlement move for Rohingyas is very badly timed which will give the message to Myanmar government that Rohingyas are going to get new home in Bangladesh. It appears that the government has requested financial assistance from International Agencies to implement the plan while aid agencies are opposed to such 'controversial plan' on environmental ground. 

Diplomats in the meeting with the Foreign Minister have reportedly opposed the move saying the new relocation at Hatiya is flood-prone and uninhabitable.

In our view by sending the displaced persons from Teknaf in Cox's Bazar region to a faraway solitary island the whole refugee crisis will be removed from international attention and we shall be left alone to deal with the crisis.