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Hasina’s proposals on Rohingya crisis very positive: Prof Riaz

Hasina’s proposals on Rohingya crisis very positive: Prof Riaz

The five-point proposal made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the United Nations (UN) to find solution to the Rohingya crisis is specific, which is a very positive but needs support from other countries, said an international analyst.

“Bangladesh now can try to rally other countries around these proposals,” Dr Ali Riaz, a Professor at the Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University, USA, told UNB in an interview.

The key to the success is to bring as many countries together around these proposals, said the political analyst.

He said there is a clear consensus among the international community on two points — immediate cessation of the violence in Rakhine state, and that the path to a durable political solution is in the Annan Commission Report.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has already issued a statement calling for bringing an end to the violence.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has already appointed a factfinding mission in March, but the Myanmar government has not allowed the mission to visit the country. “The boldest among these proposals is the call for the creation of ‘safe zones’ inside Myanmar,” said Prof Riaz.

Asked whether these proposals are going to be implemented, he said, the proposals, particularly the creation of such ‘safe zones’, will require the approval of the Security Council, which is unlikely unless China, a strong backer of Myanmar, agrees to it.

However, he mentioned, these proposals provide something to begin with.

“Implementation of these proposals, in part or in entirety, depends on Bangladesh’s ability and success in rallying countries in support of the Rohingyas and Bangladesh’s position,” the analyst explained.

Prof Riaz said sustained diplomatic efforts are needed to get desired outcome. “I don’t think a quick and easy solution, like previous two occasions — in 1978-79 and 1991-92 — is possible.”

Diplomats say the Security Council could consider adopting a formal statement if the situation does not improve.

Regarding this, the Bangladesh-origin US professor said there is no doubt that the UN will not be able to act unless the Security Council approves it. “Adoption of a statement or condemnation by the UNSC will have no effect on the Myanmar government,” he said.

However, Prof Riaz said, there has to be repeated efforts in the UNSC and other international and regional bodies to end the current situation inside Myanmar and repatriate refugees.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said it is not considerable to Bangladesh what India and China saying about the Rohingya issue as their diplomats saw for themselves their woes.

“Their [India and China] diplomats saw the woes of the Rohingyas and they’re very much sympathetic to them. We saw that,” she said.

She also mentioned that India and China came forward with humanitarian assistance, and they are sending relief materials to Bangladesh for the Rohingya refugees. “They’re extending all sorts of cooperation.”

Hasina said all the diplomats, stationed in Dhaka, went to the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar to see for themselves the sufferings of the refugees. “They talked to them (Rohingyas)… they’re all sympathetic to the Rohingya refugees,” she said.

The Prime Minister said after giving shelter to some 800,000 Myanmar nationals in Bangladesh, the country is facing a complex crisis about their food, accommodation, emergency relief and their repatriation.

Earlier, the Prime Minister called upon the United Nations and the international community to take immediate and effective measures for a permanent solution to this protracted Rohingya crisis.

In this regard, she proposes five actions.

First: Myanmar must unconditionally stop the violence and the practice of ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine State immediately and forever.

Second: Secretary General of the United Nations should immediately send a Fact-Finding Mission to Myanmar.

Third: All civilians irrespective of religion and ethnicity must be protected in Myanmar. For that “safe zones” could be created inside Myanmar under UN supervision.

Fourth: Ensure sustainable return of all forcibly displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh to their homes in Myanmar.

Fifth: The recommendations of Kofi Annan Commission Report must be immediately implemented unconditionally and in its entirety.