A recent report titled “Forcibly Displaced Myanmar National (Rohingya) in Bangladesh: Governance Challenges and Way Out” prepared by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) tells us that the country faces long-term financial, political and security challenges due to the prolonged stay of Rohingyas on Bangladeshi soil. Since Myanmar is not under any serious international pressure to prepare the grounds to take back the Rohingyas, we are increasingly facing socio-economic instability. These extend to security issues and as pointed out by TIB executive director, “risks of growing extremism as the people who face violence are more likely to become more violent.”
So, what is the government to do? Since 2017, the government has spent more than Tk 2,000 crore on the Rohingya influx and this financial burden will grow as international interest wanes. Unfortunately, there is overlapping of activities and lack of coordination between government agencies and non-government actors that include international NGOs and local ones. This is resulting in deep distrust as there is a gap of information and allegations are being raised as to how much of the international aid is being spent on the refugee community and what is going to pay as administrative expenditure. These discrepancies are raising suspicions and leading to delays in granting permission for project approvals and ultimately, hampering the much-needed aid that Rohingyas depend on for survival.
What is sorely needed now is a multi-stakeholder assessment that will include state and non-state actors to formulate plans from short to long-term intervention for the Rohingya populace, because the way things are being played out in the international arena, this displaced community may be here for a long time. And if we intend to avoid many of the governance challenges already creeping in, it is best to have an effective monitoring and coordination mechanism in place to avoid some of those pitfalls. Side-by-side, the diplomatic pressure must be an ongoing effort to force Myanmar to take back its nationals as soon as possible.