Despite strong predictions and aspirations, it is gradually becoming clear that China may not shift from its previous strategy on the Rohingya issue and most definitely would suggest Bangladesh in resolving the matter “bilaterally” with Myanmar. Similarly, India too are already distancing itself from this particular issue considering its growing intimacy with Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Myanmar has started multiple forms of efforts centering the Rohingya issue – starting from briefing the global policymakers to monitoring the international media and countering content that goes against Myanmar’s military leadership or Aung San Suu Kyi.
During the last-concluded summit of the ASEAN nations, there had not been any strong message from it as Myanmar is one of the prominent members of this forum. Instead of making demands of Myanmar, which has been criticized for failing to ensure the safe repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims forced into Bangladesh, had issued a joint statement stressing their continued support for the “voluntary return of displaced persons in a safe, secure and dignified manner”.
Meanwhile, there are other groups, which also are holding symposiums, seminars, round-table on the Rohingya issue, wherefrom they are setting granting nationality to the Rohingyas as pre-condition for their repatriation, meaning, they are further complicating the matter and pushing the Rohingya repatriation into absolute uncertainty. One point misses the understanding of the policymakers in Bangladesh think – who these groups are?
Most of these so-called rights groups actually are backed and funded by Myanmar itself with the ulterior motive of somehow paving the path of permanently sealing the fate of Rohingyas as refugees and never returning to Myanmar.
We can take here the example of Lilianne Fan, who said that the refugees “don’t want to go back without any protection” of their rights to property, freedom of movement and citizenship. “Citizenship is the only thing that will give them protection”.
Ms Fan chairs the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network’s Rohingya Working Group.
If someone will analyze statement of Lilianne Fan, it possibly will become crystal clear to everyone that this recommendation of granting citizenship to Rohingyas before repatriation to Myanmar itself is a precondition set with the ulterior motive of pushing the issue into absolute uncertainty.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on June 26, 2019 told the parliament that Bangladesh’s security and stability may be hampered if the Rohingya refugees cannot be repatriated to Myanmar soon.
She said, “The displaced Rohingyas, who have been deprived of basic rights by Myanmar, are dissatisfied. If we cannot send them back soon, there is apprehension that our security and stability will be hampered”.
Sheikh Hasina also slammed Myanmar for making excuses for delaying repatriation of the refugees though it signed three pacts with Bangladesh, pledging to complete the repatriation process within two years.
“They [Myanmar] are delaying the process on various excuses”, she said.
In a scripted answer, the premier told the House that Myanmar is carrying out propaganda in the international arena that the Rohingya repatriation is being delayed due to Bangladesh’s non-cooperation.
“We are continuing bilateral efforts with Myanmar to resolve the crisis. We are also making diplomatic efforts with international and regional forums to mount pressure on Myanmar to take the Rohingyas back” she added.
Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh and the international community are putting pressure on Myanmar to create conducive conditions in Rakhine State, but unfortunately the situation there has not improved due to Myanmar government’s rigid stance.
Is Bangladesh countering Myanmar’s propaganda?
Against the massive propaganda carried out by the Myanmar authorities with the clear agenda of burying the Rohingya issue forever and finally sealing the fate of this ethnic minority group, Bangladesh seems to be totally reluctant and up to some extent ignorant on the consequent of the propaganda carried out by the Myanmar authorities. Policymakers in Dhaka need to understand, for the sake of getting rid of taking back the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Middle East and other countries, Myanmar will not hesitate in spending millions of dollars towards lobbying and propaganda and for Bangladesh, it is not only important but to some extent very much essential to adopt the strategy of effectively countering such evil desire of the Burmese authorities.