12:00 AM, November 19, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 19, 2012


The Rohingya issue

Shun laidback approach

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The pledge of the Myanmar authority to consider a set of new rights for Rohingyas, who have been made stateless in their own country, does not go far enough. It is the question of citizenship of the Muslims of Arakan State that is the nub of the issue. Amidst renewed violence against them in Myanmar, an early resolution of the matter assumes great importance.
The plight of the Rohingyas has been greatly enhanced by the fact that they have nowhere to seek succor except the sea, to escape the persecution, which, according to the OIC, has assumed 'genocidal' proportions.
What is appalling is the position taken by the Myanmar Nobel Laureate on the issue. We find Suu Kyi's unwillingness to take the side of the oppressed as morally untenable, particularly for a Nobel Peace Laureate. Contrary to her belief, her keeping equidistance from the issue will not promote national reconciliation; it will only encourage the oppressors to do more of what they are doing.
However, we hope that the chorus of international condemnation, including that of the UN and the OIC, of the Myanmar government's failure to protect its ethnic minority and even turning a blind eye to the violence perpetrated on them by the majority community with the support of the government agencies, would have a positive impact. And we would hope that President Obama would be able to convince the Myanmar junta to resolve the longstanding ethnic issue, during his forthcoming visit to that country.
While Bangladesh may have made its position clear to the OIC about its stance on the Rohingya issue, and it may have reasons for not offering permanent refuge to them, we find its unwillingness to be more forceful in calling upon the Myanmar government as well the international community, to stop the persecution, rather baffling. The problem is not an exclusively Myanmar issue. Bangladesh suffers the consequences of their persecution and can ill afford to remain a spectator to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas. It must add its voice in as strong a manner as possible to that of the international community's in calling upon the Myanmar government for a just resolution of the matter.

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