The recent revelation in a report by a UN fact-finding mission that said, the 600,00 Rohingya remaining in Myanmar’s Rakhine state face “serious risk of genocide” and that repatriation of the ones who have been driven out of the country by its military remain “impossible”, is disturbing. The UN investigators further said that Myanmar is confiscating and building on land of the displaced Rohingya. The fact-finding mission also called for top Myanmar military generals, including its army chief, Min Aung Hlaing, to be put on trial for the crimes committed against the Rohingya. These are alarming developments with the potential to trigger further exodus of the minority community into Bangladesh.
Myanmar’s actions, its tendency to shield the perpetrators from trial and reluctance to create a conducive environment—both preconditions of the Rohingya for their return to their homeland—reflect negatively on its intentions, and added to that the revelation of this report make repatriation of the Rohingya difficult.
Bangladesh has been providing shelter and security to the helpless Rohingya even with waning donor support; however, this should not be Bangladesh’s concern alone. The reluctance or failure of the international community to exert enough pressure on Myanmar to take back their people has added to Bangladesh’s troubles, where it is becoming increasingly difficult to host more than one million people for such a protracted period of time.
As an outcome of this report, the UN must now take stronger measures and gear up support to end the plight of the Rohingya. Countries, especially the ones with closer ties with Myanmar, should play a more proactive role to settle this issue. The genocide of the Rohingya—as suggested by the UN investigators themselves—is an international problem, and the world community must now come forward to stop this persecution and facilitate the Rohingya’s return to their country. Otherwise, the world will be responsible for the systematic ethnic cleansing of a minority community in front of their very own eyes.