Bangladesh PM warns world of ‘security implications beyond borders’ over delaying Rohingya repatriation

World leaders should "act seriously" for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, warning the delay would have “security implications” beyond the borders

Nov 12, 2021
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

World leaders should "act seriously" for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, warning the delay would have “security implications” beyond the borders. Currently over a million refugees who have fled Myanmarese persecution are in Bangladesh. 

"The world must act seriously to make sure these people are back to Myanmar soon,” Hasina was quoted as saying in her inaugural speech at the Paris Peace Forum.  Otherwise, she added,  “the security risks from the crisis will not just remain confined within our borders. We already see the signs of that." 

In 2017, Myanmar launched a military crackdown on rebels operating from its western province of Rakhine, resulting in the displacement of around 700,000 people to Bangladesh’s Cox Bazaar. The number over the years swelled almost a million. 

Reminding the world about the time, Hasina said Bangladesh helped the world avoid a major regional crisis by giving temporary shelters to Myanmar’s forcible displaced people. These people (refugees) continue to face an “uncertain future”, she added.

Prior to the military take over in Myanmar, Bangladesh had been engaging with the erstwhile Myanmar government, to find a working and mutually acceptable solution for the return of Rohingya refugees. However, in February this year, the Myanmar military, the main force behind the crisis in 2017, seized power, scuttling the progress in talks.

Dhaka since then has been lobbying with key western capitals, and international organizations to pressure the military regime in Myanmar for the repatriation of refugees. 

Over the past few months, authorities in Bangladesh are becoming increasingly concerned over the threat of growing radicalization, criminal networks, and drug trafficking. Furthermore, the pandemic also exposed the weakness of the global health support system--a fact, Hasina also highlighted in her speech on Thursday. 

Crowded camps in Cox Bazaar with an ever-growing population remain vulnerable, given their exposure to natural disasters like floods, heavy rains, landslides, and fire. Reports also indicated possible human trafficking networks operating in the area. 

While the world, and international and multilateral agencies, helped Bangladesh manage the refugees, Dhaka hasn’t received more than lip service for the permanent solution of the issue. 

(SAM) 

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