Millions of Rohingya fled to Bangladesh to save their lives in the face of the Myanmar army’s killing campaign in Rakhine. The influx of Rohingyas to Bangladesh started on August 25, 2017. More than 750,000 Rohingyas took refuge in Bangladesh in just a few days. Bangladesh has sheltered 30,000 displaced people from Myanmar here. Before this, the abode of 100,000 people was built on the island of Meghna estuary. Under the supervision of the Navy, this modern shelter was constructed in the fastest possible time. Appropriate dams are provided to make the island sustainable.
On the other hand, this island has everything from freshwater to livelihood. Housing for 100,000 people, sewage system, schools for children, recreational facilities, mosques, etc. But even after five years, the Rohingyas could not return to their homes.
Despite Myanmar’s commitment, repatriation has not started
Instead of cooperation in this regard, even China-India sided with Myanmar. Even the UN itself could not take action against Myanmar’s military junta because of their vote.
Not only that, on the fifth anniversary of the unprecedented inhumane Rohingya crisis, the United Nations expressed another alarm. This shows how neglected the Rohingya issue is by the international community. It has been reported that next year’s UN fundraising target for the Rohingya has fallen short. In 2022, the United Nations took steps to create a fund of 881 million dollars for the Rohingyas who took refuge in Bangladesh.
But so far, only 49 percent of the money proposed by the United Nations, or 426.2 million dollars, has been deposited in that fund. As such, the funds collected from various countries and donor organizations for the Rohingyas are not even half of the target. The United Nations is worried about this. As a result, the international organization fears that the relief operations conducted by the United Nations with the help of the Rohingyas who have taken refuge in Bangladesh will be hindered.
In a statement, UNHCR said that if there is not enough money in the Rohingya Fund, the relief operations conducted by the United Nations to help the Rohingya refugees will be hindered. A large number of Rohingyas will be at risk of death. Everyone wants a solution. Rohingyas also want to return home. But no expected response has been received from the Myanmar side in this matter till now.
International cooperation also seems to be fading
Five years is not less time to solve such an inhumane crisis. We want to say as always, that the international community must come forward to solve the Rohingya crisis, especially to return them to their homeland. Because at their request, Bangladesh has given shelter to the Rohingyas considering humanitarian aspects. This burden is in no way possible for Bangladesh to bear in the long run. The living and activities of 11 million Rohingya have affected the surrounding area. Agricultural land is being destroyed. If this situation continues, the forest and biodiversity will be endangered, as well as the area will become unfit for human habitation.
There is no shortage of efforts from Bangladesh to repatriate the Rohingyas. But due to Myanmar’s political apathy, there has been no significant progress so far. Experts say that the United Nations has not taken effective action on the Rohingya repatriation issue. Although Canada, the European Union and the United States have taken some small steps on a limited scale, no action has been taken by the international community and Myanmar’s dominant economic partners which puts Myanmar under pressure.
Although, trade and investment by the European Union countries and the United States in Myanmar increased after the Rohingya crisis began in 2017. For these reasons, Myanmar has practically ignored any calls from Bangladesh to resolve the Rohingya crisis. Rather, whenever a regional or international effort has been initiated by Bangladesh, Myanmar has taken time-wasting and disinformation tactics.
This crisis belongs to Myanmar, and Myanmar must end it. Burdening neighboring countries by carrying out ethnic cleansing against their own citizens is not the business of anyone in the modern and civilized world. And no one can support that. Bangladesh has no choice but to act on more international steps. We think that there is no alternative to taking the initiative of repatriating Rohingya through tripartite meetings along with effective action by the international community. It is necessary for world leaders to come forward to solve the crisis by ensuring the return of Rohingya citizens to their own land.
The writer is a Human rights activist and independent researcher based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.