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The Rohingyas: Global threat or national asset?

25 Mar 2020 The Khaama Press News Agency

DISCLAIMER – The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Khaama Press News Agency. We welcome opinions and submissions to Khaama Press Opinions – Please email them to [email protected].

Aung San Suu Kyi’s decision to appear before the ICJ to defend Myanmarese Army’s Counterinsurgency operations in Rakhine against Rohingyas was a strategic decision. While the Gambia, supported by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation dragged Myanmar to the ICJ on the charges of violating the UN convention of prevention of genocide,  we must remember that many powerful countries of the world like China, Russia and India are supporting Aung San Suu Kyi. Her failure to defend the Myanmar military and the atrocities on its part on the Rohingyas in the ICJ is indeed raising a pertinent question: Will Myanmar take care of Rohingyas  right now? Will International organizations and countries help them in any way or will they side with the Myanmarese authorities on their inhuman atrocities on the Rohingyas?

We find that most of the international superpowers are not interested in the Rohingya because they do not have any direct benefit from them or any great interest in Myanmar or any strategic need there. Myanmar is a country that has experienced long periods of military dictatorship. The People’s Republic of China was highly successful in forming a solid relationship with this military junta from the very beginning. China invested infrastructural and development projects and also exported armament, technology, energy, etc. to Myanmar. The pinnacle of cooperation reached when Myanmar was one of the first countries to join the Belt and Road Initiative of China, which was under the border project of One Belt One Road(OBOR), a  grand mega project that was first envisioned by Chinese President Xi Jinping in order to strengthen China and make it the strongest country in the world as well as to revive the ancient Silk route stretching from China to the entire Middle East to Western Europe to South America to Australia to Africa and Southeast Asia as was present in Ancient China. So, the active participation of as many countries as possible was required to strengthen the project and realize this dream.

Given the extreme close relations that China had with Myanmarese military junta as well as with Aung San Suu Kyi, it was highly unlikely for China to support the Rohingyas in any International forum. As expected, they did not do so. The Chinese teamed up with the Russian to defend Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar is military in every forum including the United Nations Organisation Security Council. In fact, when France wanted UN sanctions to be placed on Myanmar, China and Russia vetoed this proposal of France which was voted for by France, the United States and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the friendship between the Russians and the Myanmarese authorities continued to grow.

United Nations, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, France Germany and many other countries in the world have asked the Myanmarese authorities to show restraint on their actions and they have asked the government to treat the Rohingyas with humanity and empathy. They say that they are extremely concerned about the ill-treatment and harassment and persecution of the Rohingyas in Myanmar. The fact is that they feel that the Rohingyas must be given a safe haven in Myanmar itself and their right to vote and all those rights that are guaranteed to every citizen must be given to them as well they should not be discriminated against only because they speak in Bengali and they must not be used as Bangladeshis. The fact is that many of the Rohingyas had originally come from Bangladesh who had migrated to Myanmar in the 1950s and in the 1960s. They had made Myanmar as their home and their country. They desired to coexist with the local population. unfortunately, the upsurge of Buddhist nationalism that was encouraged by the military junta had proven to be extremely hostile to the Rohingyas. The Buddhist Nationalists refused to accept the  Rohingyas in Myanmar as one of their own and always thought of means to persecute them, to exile them and then to expel them from Myanmar in which they were overtly and covertly supported by the Myanmarese authorities.

Most of the Myanmarese military personnel were incidentally Buddhists. There were some Christians, a few Hindus, and some Christians as well along with a few Muslims in the Military. However, the Buddhist dominated the Myanmarese military and these people also refused to accept the Rohingyas in Myanmar and the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas in the country continued to take place for a very long period of time. Aung San Suu Kyi had to remain silent on this issue because the military had proven that it cared nothing for the Rohingyas. In fact, the military and the police were directly involved in the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas. The Arakan Liberation Army, especially in Rakhine, was one of the fiercest opponents of the Rohingyas After signing a peace deal with the Government of Myanmar in 2012, they are allied with the Myanmarese Army and are a leading proponent of the earliest huge amount of violence on the Rohingyas of Myanmar and are greatly instrumental in their expulsion from Myanmar.  Canada had taken action against Aung San Suu Kyi by withdrawing the honorary citizenship conferred on her. Myanmarese prosecution forced many Rohingyas to flee to neighboring countries like Bangladesh, India and Thailand. There are many Rohingyas sheltered in different parts of Kashmir and northern Indian states of Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Bangladesh has also assured India all the Rohingya will be going back to the country and supports our moves to deport Rohingyas. All friendly countries of Myanmar including India are supporting Myanmar in its fight against the Rohingya insurgency but are insensitive to the human rights violations of the Rohingyas in Myanmar.

In 2016 and 2017, an exodus of the Rohingyas took place from Myanmar to various countries the neighborhood as Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and India. Unfortunately, politicians of most of these countries started debating on this issue either used Rohingyas for electoral benefits or tried to expel them. Many reports have surfaced that  Rohingyas are committing atrocities on the tribals on the border regions of Indian North-Eastern states and Bangladesh. There was huge political slugfest over the Rohingyas in India. The government refused to accommodate a huge number of Rohingya India telling me that they would not be able to provide my jobs and other facilities to them. Senior advocates Fali Nariman,  Prashant Bhushan, Kapil Sibal, Colin Gonsalves appeared on behalf of the Rohingyas in the Supreme Court of India, irrespective of the fact that India was not a signatory to the international Refugee Convention( Geneva convention of 1951). The Supreme Court has said that Rohingyas should be sheltered in India to a certain extent but adequate measures should be taken by the government to insure there is no incident of communal disharmony or any communal riot on account of the giving refuge to the Rohingyas in India. The government must ensure that Rohingyas are well satisfied and that they can co-operate with India in speeding up the nation-building process.

It would be inhuman on part of India to not give refugees to Rohingyas. India should attend to rehabilitate the Rohingyas and also enable them to receive free education at the government’s expense. They should also be taught the Indian languages as well as English. They should be assimilated with the Indian population and later formally integrated so that there’s no feeling of ill will left in them once the government shelters them and provides human treatment to them. Gradually we can attempt to give citizenship to the Rohingyas and help them to integrate themselves with the Indian population. We can then see the Rohingyas playing a very important role in India’s nation-building and India’s eventual rise as a superpower. 

Author
  • Sauro Dasgupta is pursuing his bachelor's degree in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. He is interested in reading, writing, public speaking and his writings have been published in many important magazines, journals and newspapers.

Original Link: https://www.khaama.com/the-rohingyas-global-threat-or-national-asset-8768967/

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