Forget western sanctions on Myanmar, instead, think of an emergency govt to save us from impending catastrophe09 August 2022 Editorial Desk
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, at the 29th meeting of ASEAN on Friday urged the western leaders to impose tough economic sanctions on Myanmar in order to speed up the repatriation of Rohingyas. Economic sanctions and restrictions on the arm supplies to the military of Myanmar by the western nations would be a very effective way to force it to take back its Rohingya citizens, but the question is whether the western countries are ready to take such steps at the urging of Bangladesh when it is suffering from its own confused foreign policy, lack of public trust and poor human rights records? Bangladesh's efforts would inevitably turn out to be meaningless.
Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, western countries showed an unprecedented response and imposed economic sanctions over Russia that indeed in a significant way crippled the former communist state, albeit its determination could not be yet broken. Greater efforts by the west are necessary to stop Russia in Ukraine.
When Myanmar perpetrated violence to the scale of genocide, it relied on backing by the former communist Russia also. The communist totalitarian state China too did not act responsibly because of its interests in Myanmar. Even a much-hyped 'largest' democracy of the world, India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, showed a cold shoulder to the plight of displaced Rohingya citizens and the problems it created to the host country Bangladesh.
The displaced Rohingyas received humanitarian sympathy and support because the west stood for their legitimate rights on the one hand and continued to criticize the Myanmar government on the other hand. But despite their effort, Bangladesh initially leaned on India. Many believed that it was at India's advice Bangladesh so happily welcomed the Rohingya refugees.
Rohingyas are now in a stateless condition and our failed diplomacy only obtains promises but no active move to solve the human tragedy of the refugees. Myanmar with the support both from China and India did not give us any importance to take back their own people. International community is quite aware of the weakness Bangladesh has within the country. The government's too much dependence on India and distrust in its own people is well known to others. Instead of helping us we are being exploited by our so-called friends as no other country was exploited ever before.
At this moment, we now need change and have an honest and respectable government that will enjoy full public trust for the kind of international influence we desperately need to deal with the crisis unfolding on all fronts. Many even doubt whether we have any independent voice.
On Sunday in Dhaka, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country was sincerely working to resolve the Rohingya crisis. While in Dhaka, he also informed that his country would build 3000 houses for Rohingyas in the state of Arakan. But unless the repatriation of the Rohingya starts with the Myanmar government giving them back their citizenship, this commitment will have no value.
In a positive development on July 22, the International Court of Justice rejected Myanmar's objections to the genocide case over its treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority, paving the way for the case to be heard in full. The World Court declared that as a signatory of the 1948 Genocide Convention, the Gambia had indeed standing to pursue the case and the top UN court had jurisdiction in the case. Here also Bangladesh does not have a strong position.
Forget Rohingya refugees, this government should now think of resigning immediately so that we can have an emergency government that can save the country from the present incompetent and corruption administration.