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Plight of Rohingyas

By A.F.M. Khairul Basher
October  09, 2013

IN the backdrop of recent violence in Rakhine province, the incessant persecution of Rohingyas has made news again. Unfortunately, it is becoming all-to-familiar a tale. This time, majority Buddhist community showed their rage over a news item that a Muslim shopkeeper had verbally abused a Buddhist taxi driver as he was trying to park outside his shop. This, political analysts say, indicates how deeply-rooted communal tensions are and the increasing likelihood of small scuffles turning into bloody riots.

Photo (TheStateless)

Photo (TheStateless)

Bangladesh, having sea and land border with Myanmar, needs to draw due attention of the international community to this issue through diplomatic channels. The Bangladesh government must have means to identify Rohingyas for security reasons, and deal with the issue considering national interest and the human rights charter.

On the diplomatic front, the UN and OIC along with leading countries like China and USA have to take a diplomatic approach to the Myanmarese government with the help of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace laureate, to ensure the citizenship of Rohingyas in Myanmar.

It is hoped that the Myanmarese government will amend the 2008 constitution to remove the inherent role of military in politics and bad laws like Citizenship Law of 1982. One expects that some positive outcome of the constitution review committee will be forthcoming to solve the problems. Hopefully, the election in 2015 will be fair and free for the people of Myanmar to get a real democracy. As long as the military plays a role in the politics of Myanmar, it may be difficult for ethnic groups to live in peace and for Rohingyas to get citizenship in their homeland.

The writer is a retired Lieutenant Colonel, and Director (Administration), UITS, Dhaka.

The Daily Star