Bangladesh needs to seen an immediate solution to Rohingya crisis and return of these Myanmar’s citizen to their country. During her visit to France, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has requested the French President Emmanuel Macron to take the Rohingya issue to the UN Security Country as being a permanent member of the council.
Following a meeting between Sheikh Hasina and Emmanuel Macron, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters that the request of taking the Rohingya issue to the UNSC was made during the meeting of the two leaders.
Momen said, France has assured that they would remain beside Bangladesh until the permanent solution of the Rohingya crisis.
“We will seriously remain beside you (Bangladesh) until the crisis (Rohingya) reaches a permanent solution”, Momen quoted the French side as telling.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister said the Rohingya issue became prominent during the Prime Minister’s meetings with all French leaders, especially the President.
Momen said the French leaders were informed that Bangladesh was trying through various angles to solve the matter.
“We have been trying bilaterally, trilaterally and multilaterally. . . Even we went to the international criminal court (ICC)”, he said.
He stated that the problem was created by Myanmar and the solution also lies with them.
Regarding the issue of the recent military coup in Myanmar, he said, Bangladesh did not have any direct discussion with the military rulers of Myanmar after the recent military coup.
“We told them (France leaders) that Western world is continuing their business with them (Myanmar), but they have to stop it to create pressure on them”, Momen said.
France questioned whether this would be possible to advance the dialogue for the repatriation process during the military government, he said.
“We told them that there were military governments in Myanmar in the 70s and 90s. But during that time, they repatriated the Rohingyas”, he added.
In this connection, the foreign minister said that in 1992 some 253,000 Rohingyas came to Bangladesh and of them 236,000 went back through dialogue and discussion, and the same thing happened in the 1970s.
“We told them (France) that in the last four years there were no conflicts in Rakhaine state. There is no violence in there. So, it is the right time”, he added.
Momen also said that Myanmar had agreed to take the Rohingyas back.
“They said they will provide guaranteed safety and security. They also agreed to create a conducive environment for their dignified return. But they are not implementing anything…We told our tales of sorrows”, he said.
The foreign minister said the French leaders asked Bangladesh whether it told ASEAN about the matter.
“We replied – ‘Of course, we have told ASEAN. They (France) said that they have talked with ASEAN. They asked ASEAN to take strong steps”, he said.
The Bangladesh side said that the ASEAN is slow and it cannot say anything on internal issues of any member country, Momen said.
It may be mentioned here that, French President Emmanuel Macron is at the of his current tenure as the first round of the 2022 presidential election is scheduled to be held on April 10, 2022. Should no candidate win a majority of the vote in the first round, a runoff will be held between the top two candidates on April 24, 2022. Meaning, President Macron has to take the Rohingya issue to the UN Security Council much before the scheduled date of the presidential election. Here, for Bangladesh it is essential to bag support from other four permanent members of the Security Council, such as China, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States. There are 10 non-permanent members of the UNSC namely Estonia, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Niger, Norway, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam. Even if France moves the Rohingya issue in the UN Security Council, it will be essential to ensure support from the remaining four member countries such as China, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.
Looking into the track record, we have seen in the past, the permanent member countries of the UNSC, China did not take any stand against Myanmar as because both the countries enjoy extremely cordial relations for decades. On the other hand, a non-permanent member like India, which enjoys extremely good relations with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government also had played hypocrisy centering the Rohingya issue as because India too is looking for having its own stake in Myanmar’s mineral resources and trade.
In my opinion, Bangladesh’s efforts in seeing an immediate solution to the Rohingya crisis through diplomatic channel though is essential, it also needs massive media campaign regionally and internationally. Bangladesh also needs to make its voice louder by making series of documentaries as well as publications of the Rohingya issue, which would help in creating public opinion globally in favor of repatriation of this extremely important issue. Unless we immediately launch massive media campaign along side the ongoing diplomatic efforts, the Rohingya issue may remain hanging for an indefinite period.
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