Bangladesh’s diplomacy has failed to rightly address the latest Rohingya crisis, compared to the previous crises in 1978 and 1992, speakers at a discussion said yesterday.
Amid the reality of the new power balance in the international arena, they suggested the government to “be creative to find a solution” to the crisis.
Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs (Bilia) organised the discussion on “Rohingya Influx in Bangladesh: Challenges Ahead” at its office in the city.
“This time, unfortunately, our diplomacy has totally flopped. Now, we are blaming others,” said Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, explaining how Bangladesh succeeded in obliging Myanmar to take back Rohingyas during two major influxes in 1978 and 1992. Zafrullah also recommended alternative options to make Myanmar take back Rohingyas, and criticised the role of India in the crisis.
“India has misled us more: they say they are beside us; on the other hand, they have remained absent at all resolution meetings of the UN.”
About a grand rally organised by Rohingya refugees earlier this week, he said, “The foreign minister preemptively said he knows nothing… But it [holding rally] is not a problem; they [Rohingyas] haven’t said anything against Bangladesh.”
He also suggested the government give importance on support from Muslim countries including Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Presided over by Ambassador Humayun Kabir, acting president of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI); Prof Sadeka Halim and Prof Lailufar Yasmin of Dhaka University; and former ambassador Kazi Anwar Masud spoke in the programme. A number of former diplomats, academics, NGO representatives, and students attended the event.
Ambassador Humayun Kabir said, “All [countries] are interested in investing in Myanmar and Myanmar is taking advantage of it. We are in the same situation and we should also use it.” About the role of ASEAN, he said, “We should go to ASEAN… [Because,] ASEAN influences Myanmar a lot.”
Fahmida Khatun, executive director of Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) discussed the economic background of the Rohingya crisis.