Asian Affairs Editor Duncan Bartlett, middle, speaks at a Dhaka Tribune seminar in Dhaka on Sunday, accompanied by Farhan Masud Khan, head of programs of UK-based Channel STV, left, and Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
To achieve real results, diplomatic initiatives must be taken with great urgency and a clear strategy given Myanmar’s continued non-cooperation in this regard, said experts
Urgent diplomatic initiatives are essential for speedy resolution of the ongoing Rohingya issue, experts said.
To achieve real results, diplomatic initiatives must be taken with great urgency and a clear strategy given Myanmar’s continued non-cooperation in this regard, said experts.
Experts made the call at a round-table on the “Rohingya Crisis: Bangladesh and Global Response,” organized by the Dhaka Tribune at a hotel in Dhaka on Sunday.
Asif Munier, a migration and refugee affairs specialist, said: “We’re just talking about a local solution, but the role of the regional forces, including Malaysia and Indonesia, is questionable.”
Muslim majority countries also need to step forward to help end the crisis, he recommended.
“Only appraisal of Bangladesh for handling the Rohingya crisis is not enough since there is a massive demand for international cooperation to address it,” he observed.
The political initiatives too, in this case are not satisfactory, Asif said, adding there are no international talks concerning the matter.
Security analyst Maj Gen (retd) Abdur Rashid said the issue is getting more complicated with each passing day.
China and Russia are pressuring Bangladesh to settle the issue bilaterally with Myanmar, he said.
“On the other hand, Bangladesh would prefer to fix it multi-laterally, leading to a confusion regarding which path to take,” he said.
China is showing reluctance in helping to resolve the problem since Myanmar is one of its major economic partners, the former army official said.
Bangladesh is not the only country to be affected by the problem. It will become a threat to other South Asian countries as well, he warned.
All of South Asia must engage in the process as diplomatic efforts to end the crisis are becoming a failure he said, questioning: “How long will Bangladesh face the problem?”
Dhaka University Professor Abul Mansur Ahmed said the Rohingya issue is no longer a problem for Bangladesh alone. “It is a global issue now.”
“The country has tried solving the crisis both bilaterally and multi-laterally, but challenges keep surfacing. Russia and China defending Myanmar is making things tougher,” he said.
“What are Saudi Arabia and the OIC doing to this end?” he asked, calling for mounting international pressure on Myanmar for a judicious repatriation of the Rohingya.
He warned that the problem may turn so severe that India, Asean, and other bodies and countries backing Myanmar will one day realize that it is their problem too.
Farhan Masud Khan, head of programs of UK-based Channel STV, said Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, can still help resolve the problem.
“But she has no intention to do so,” he said.
Duncan Bartlett, editor of Asian Affairs magazine, said the US, UK, EU, and aid agencies, are regularly keeping the issue on their agenda.
“The issue has become so sensitive that the UK government has discussed it in the House of Commons,” he said.