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Saturday, June 19, 2021

ED: How much longer will it take?

Dhaka Tribune
Tribune Editorial
June 18th, 2021

MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

We must address the root causes of the crisis, and the root lies in Myanmar

While nuance and diplomacy are no doubt crucial in international politics, should they supersede the needs of a people who have escaped indescribable pain and suffering, and wish nothing more than to go back home?

Unfortunately, when it comes to the Rohingya, the international community has been slow to move: The journey from silence to hesitant support to full-fledged condemnation has taken many powerful nations years to conclude, and this has allowed Myanmar to play dumb, break promises, delay, and worst of all, deny the Rohingya not only the right to return to their homeland of Rakhine, but even justice, refusing to acknowledge the atrocities and hold those responsible to account.

In the meantime, it is Bangladesh that has ensured that the Rohingya are protected and provided for; in fact, Myanmar’s refusal to cooperate has been so relentless that the current government has generously established Bhashan Char, an entirely area of accommodation for the refugees from Myanmar.

But how much longer will the Rohingya remain stateless, unable to return to their homes, many of which the Myanmar army had burned to the ground? How much longer will they have to wait before the murderers, arsonists, and rapists responsible for their suffering are brought to justice? How much longer must we wait before the international community realizes that, with each year of inaction, we legitimize Myanmar’s version of the truth?

As Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has rightfully stated in his most recent visit to the UN, we must address the root causes of the crisis, and the root lies in Myanmar. While we appreciate the commendations Bangladesh has received for its humanitarian efforts to aid the Rohingya, that is not enough.

The international community needs to provide more than encouragement and platitudes -- it needs to implement policy which forces Myanmar to cooperate with the repatriation process.

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