Violent depopulation campaign against Rohingyas: Dhaka

Violent depopulation campaign against Rohingyas: Dhaka

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Dhaka, Oct 11 (BSS) – Bangladesh has accused Myanmar of spearheading a violent depopulation campaign to oust its ethnic minority Rohingya Muslims using the military, forcing by now a majority of them to flee to Bangladesh.
“For the first time in the history, the majority of the Rohingya race has come to Bangladesh . . . virtually only 400,000 to 500,000 of them out of some 1800,000 Rohingyas now remain in Myanmar,” foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali told a discussion in the capital.
He said the latest exodus began on August 25 with the army crackdown on Rohingyas on the plea of a terrorist attack on Myanmar’s security outposts and since then some 500,000 of them crossed the border total their number to 900,000 in Bangladesh while another 400,000 of them were forced to take refuge in other countries.
“The Myanmar home minister earlier revealed their plan to bring a ‘demographic balance’ and the Myanmar’s military with aggressive Buddhists and nationalist Rakhine community’s supports are trying to enforce the plan,” Ali said.
He said Myanmar launched a large-scale military operation codenamed “Area Clearance” to confront “terrorists” but in fact, under the cover of the announced anti-terrorism campaign, they continued to carry out ruthless atrocities on ordinary Rohingyas mobilizing the troops in the region one month ahead of the August 25 crackdown. “Tensions brewed in the region as they simultaneously isolated entirely some Rohingya areas and stopped supplies of food, water and daily essentials there,” he said.
Ali’s comments came as a fresh influx of Rohingyas began to hit Bangladesh a week after Naypyidaw agreed to take back their forcibly displaced people sending a senior minister to Dhaka to open talks amid mounting global outrage against Myanmar’s treatment of the ethnic minority population.
Bangladesh foreign minister, however, feared the Myanmar proposal was actually a tactic to defuse the mounting international pressure, which he said should be kept on to force Naypyidaw to revise its approach on Rohingya issue.
He said Dhaka disagreed with a Maynmar proposal for Rohingya repatriation under a verification system set out in 1992 in view of changed scenario and reality and rather proposed a joint Bangladesh-Myanmar verification strategy.
“We proposed Myanmar to take back all Rohingyas without considering their arrival date into Bangladesh as well as to involve UN and international agencies like IOM and UNHCR at every level of repatriation of Rohingyas,” Ali said.
On October 2, Bangladesh proposed a bilateral agreement to facilitate the repatriation process and handed over a draft of the proposed deal to visiting Myanmar’s union minister in Dhaka.
Ali said Rohingya crisis remained no more a Myanmar’s internal issue and rather it became a regional catastrophe.
“It’s (also) not a bilateral problem of Bangladesh and Myanmar. Bangladesh didn’t play any role in creating this crisis. The centre of the crisis is in Myanmar and the solution lies with Myanmar as well,” he said.
As a result of the diplomatic efforts of Bangladesh, he said the international pressure on Myanmar regarding Rohingya issue is mounting higher and higher every day.
The Minister said a total of 3,000 Rohingya Muslims were killed so far since the army crackdown was launched in Rakhine State on August 25 and Human Rights Watch got the evidence of cleansing. The Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organized the discussion titled “Rohingya Crisis: Review of Steps Taken by Bangladesh” in the capital. – Adapted from BSS report

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