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Experts: Rohingya crisis could turn into a long-term problem

  • Published at 11:24 pm September 2nd, 2018
Rohingya conference
Speakers address the concluding event of an international conference on Rohingya situation at Dhaka University on Sunday Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Professor of Economics at University of Dhaka, Dr Abul Barakat spoke on the two broad aspects of the crisis: Effects and causes, during the closing session

Experts have called the persecution of the Rohingyas an act of deliberate ethnic cleansing for political and economic gains by the Myanmar government, on Sunday.

Speaking at the second day of the two-day long event “Second International Conference on Rohingya: Politics, Ethnic Cleansing and Uncertainty” at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate building at Dhaka University (DU), they warned that this crisis will be a long term problem as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has failed to achieve diplomatic success especially with ASEAN countries. 

 Professor of Economics at University of Dhaka, Dr Abul Barakat spoke on the two broad aspects of the crisis: Effects and causes, during the closing session.

He said one of the effects is – “the disenfranchisement of Rohingya.” “More than 40% of them are in Bangladesh, 20% at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 16% in Pakistan and rest 4% are scattered near Myanmar. Only the Rohingyas in Pakistan were granted citizenship.

 Dr Barakat said the root cause of the crisis is that the economical transition of Myanmar has turned into a political transition. “Myanmar is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources. 90% of the resources are in hill tracts area where Rohingya minorities live. Most of the resources are in Rakhine state. So to grab the land or property – the best way is to erase their existence and this is what is happening there.”

 In response to a question, he said: “For this exodus, international communities received charity of some half a billion US dollar. But Myanmar would get $5 trillion in resource export. Countries like India, China and others have already made huge investments in the sector. For this, some have come to accept the dislocation of the Rohingyas.”

 Assistant Professor of Law in Jagannath University Khair Mahmud said there are few Rohingyas left who can fight to establish their citizenship.

 “To solve the crisis, there needs to be an amendment in the Myanmar constitution (Article 445), proper use of courts (by reforming Myanmar procedure and involving international courts like ICJ) and most of all a safe, secure and dignified reparation,” he added.

 DU Criminology Department Chairperson Prof Ziaur Rahman said the conference would help stake holders of the crisis in Bangladesh to fill the knowledge gap about the crisis. “It would work as introduction to the matter of research on the whole issue related to the crisis.”

 Department of Criminology organized the conference with the strategic partnership of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Around 50 researchers, academics, lawyers and students are presenting 72 papers in 21 sessions on the Rohingya crisis.