Myanmar Issue: ‘Business as usual approach’ won’t do | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 22, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 22, 2021

Myanmar Issue: ‘Business as usual approach’ won’t do

Says Shahriar Alam about int’l community

The business as usual approach of the international community has encouraged Myanmar to flout the decisions of international mechanisms and continue mass atrocities on ethnic minorities with a greater sense of impunity, said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam.

He said despite allegations of genocide against Myanmar, many of the countries increased their bilateral trade, investment, and development assistance to the Southeast Asian country, which is now in deep crisis following the military coup in February, nearly four years after a military crackdown caused an influx of 750,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh.

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Nearly 500 civilians were killed in Myanmar amid a Civil Disobedience Movement while a National Unity Government was formed against the military.

Many of the countries have imposed sanctions against Myanmar's businesses having linked to the military as well as the members of the military, putting huge pressure on the Southeast Asian country.

The current state of Myanmar has become an issue of worries for Bangladesh because there is a fear that the Rohingya repatriation process seems stalled for now.

"Given the gravity of the crisis of over a million Rohingya and the mindset of the Myanmar authorities, the international community must not shy away from their responsibility to resolve the crisis and relieve Bangladesh from the burden that Myanmar has imposed upon us," Shahriar Alam said.

He was addressing a webinar titled "The Rohingya Crisis: Response of the International Community and the Repatriation Process" organised by the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) yesterday.

Shahriar Alam said Myanmar authorities did not demonstrate the genuine political will to resolve the crisis but tried to make misrepresented facts, denied their obligations, and misguided the international community.

"Things are not looking good in Myanmar. It is worsening by the minute. We have further reason to be concerned to added problems," he said but allayed concerns over a further influx of ethnic minorities to Bangladesh -- a fear that was expressed by some analysts.

He said the ongoing judicial proceedings both at the ICJ and the ICC are of utmost importance to put an end to Myanmar's long history of persecution, a deep-rooted culture of impunity. The international community must remain focused, vigorously pursue accountability and justice through these international judicial mechanisms.

Shahriar Alam said Bhashan char is not an issue now as the UN and foreign diplomats have expressed their overall satisfaction over it.

"The UN has some recommendations. We are hoping more Rohingyas will go there and that the UN will take responsibility," he said.

Former diplomat Humayun Kabir said as Myanmar is now under more global pressure and the democracy movement is getting stronger, the voice of the Rohingya should be incorporated in fast-evolving Myanmar.

He said India and Thailand are facing new refugees due to Myanmar's trouble and that Bangladesh needs to keep a close watch on the development and make sure that no new influx of Myanmar's ethnic minorities takes place.

Dhaka University International Relations Prof Imtiaz Ahmed said Myanmar's military has been thriving amid chaos for many decades, always finding alternatives to the sanctions and other international restrictions.

Despite sanctions being imposed by some countries on Myanmar, China and Myanmar will remain beside Myanmar. For Bangladesh, the major issue is Rohingya repatriation. Therefore, Bangladesh must engage China and Myanmar more vigorously to address the Rohingya crisis, he said.

Security analyst Brig Gen (Retd) M Sakhawat Hossain, and former ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad also spoke at the webinar where foreign ministry's Director General (Myanmar) Delwar Hossain and BIISS Senior Research Fellow Abu Salah Mohammad Yousuf presented papers.


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