Ethnic cleansing operations on a scale that took place in Rakhine state cannot and should not be swept under the rug
While the arrival of a high level delegation from Myanmar today to convince the Rohingya to return home sparks some renewed hope for successful repatriation, sadly, the overall task remains more complicated than one of simple persuasion.
Simply put, it is not reasonable to expect Rohingya refugees on our side of the border to want to return to Rakhine state if they continue to fear for their lives.
The fact remains, Myanmar’s assurances that the rights of the Rohingya will be protected are not credible; add to that the fact that the regime has not even owned up to the atrocities that were committed in the first place.
Recent satellite images show minimal preparations for repatriation, and Myanmar is still not open to welcoming international organizations, watchdogs, and journalists monitoring the situation on the ground in Rakhine.
If indeed Myanmar is ready to take back the Rohingya, and with good intentions, then the country should have nothing to hide; in fact, this is a perfect opportunity for the Myanmar government to demonstrate to the world that they are ready to make right some of the wrongs of the past.
Ethnic cleansing operations on a scale that took place in Rakhine state cannot and should not be swept under the rug, and it is a duty of the whole world to ensure that justice is served for the crimes that were committed.
It may seem convenient to ignore the humanitarian complexities of the Rohingya crisis in favour of a speedy solution, but Bangladesh has so far not taken the easy way out, sheltering a million refugees while our own resources are stretched to breaking point.
We cannot just give up on these refugees now.