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I prefer peaceful solution to Rohingya crisis: PM tells Washington Post

I prefer peaceful solution to Rohingya crisis: PM tells Washington Post

DHAKA:Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said she wanted a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis evading confrontation with anybody over the issue.

“I don’t want to fight with anybody. I want a peaceful solution, because they (Myanmar) are my next door neighbor,” she told Today’s WorldView, the weekday newsletter of The Washington Post.

The premier, however, said if the international community thought sanctions against Myanmar could work to resolve the crisis that could be “fine, well and good”. “But I can’t suggest that,” the prestigious US newspaper quoted her as saying.

It was mentioned in an article ran by Today’s Worldview titled “The Rohingya Crisis Can’t Stay Bangladesh’s Burden, prime minister says,” written by foreign affairs reporter Ishaan Tharoor.

It also stated that Sheikh Hasina told she has discussed the matter with Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader. “She then (Suu Kyi) blamed the military. She told me that the military doesn’t listen to her that much,” the premier told the newsletter, referring to a 2016 conversation at a regional summit hosted in India.

But the Myanmar leader has followed in lockstep with the country’s military and refuses to even use the word “Rohingya” to describe the ethnic group that long persecuted by the central state in Rakhine.

“Now I can see she (Suu Kyi) has changed her position,” Sheikh Hasina told the newspaper.

The article said Sheikh Hasina is sympathetic to the plight of Rohingyas.

” It’s a big burden for Bangladesh, no doubt. But what they faced was
almost some kind of genocide,” she told during the interview at a midtown
hotel in Manhattan on Friday, referring to the violence on Rohingya
communities in 2017.

“Killing, torturing, arson, rape and so many things happened. They were
bound to run away from their country for their safety and security,” she told
the newspaper.

If they have to stay longer in Bangladesh, very easily they can be
converted or join” militant groups,” the premier said adding her government
confirmed new measures last week to build barbed-wire fences around Rohingya
camps and to patrol their perimeters.

The Bangladeshi prime minister said the Rohingyas have been given
shelter for now. “They are in my soil,” she said. “What else can we do?”

Sheikh Hasina hoped that the international community could apply more
pressure on her neighbor.

“The problem with Myanmar is that they don’t listen to anybody,” she
said.

She pointed to the reports of girls and young women falling prey to
illicit human-trafficking networks that have reached into the camps, home to
more than 1 million Rohingyas .

The article said that in her speech last week from the dais of the U.N.
General Assembly, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the
international community must “understand the untenable” of the status quo.
Her nation, she added, is dealing with “a crisis which is Myanmar’s own
making.” Authorities in Myanmar view the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim
minority, as interloper s and noncitizens – a position rejected by the
international community, it said.

The reporter posed several questions in the article such as do they
contemplate returning home to a country where their political rights will not
be guaranteed and threats of violence remain? Or do they remain in limbo in
the camps, eking out a bleak existence in a country that is straining under
their presence?

Others are not so convinced, the article said, quoting Malaysian Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the United Nations last week as saying ,

“The Myanmar government are unaffected and maintain that these were
efforts to fight terrorists.”

“This is what we are disappointed with, because we know that what is
truly happening is a genocide, “Mahathir added.

Quoting to a recent report, the write up mentioned that a U.N.-
commissioned report warned that the same violent conditions that provoked the
2017 exodus persist in Rakhine state.

“There is a strong inference of genocidal intent on the part of
Myanmar’s government, there is a serious risk that genocidal actions may
recur, and Myanmar is failing in its obligation to prevent genocide, to
investigate genocide and to enact effective legislation criminalizing and
punishing genocide,” the report concluded.

“Myanmar has done nothing to dismantle the system of violence and
persecution and the Rohingyas who remain in Rakhine live in the same dire
circumstances that they did prior to the events of August 2017,” Yanghee Lee,
the U.N. special rapporteur on Myanmar, told reporters earlier this month.

The article said that although there have been agreements with Myanmar,
also known as Burma, to repatriate small numbers of refugees, the
overwhelming majority are too afraid to return.

Rohingya rights advocates say the refugees fear returning to a
precarious state in Myanmar, where they could be vulnerable to attacks from
the sort of pro-government vigilante mobs and military forces who razed their
villages and murdered and raped their loved ones, it mentioned.

They (Rohingyas) demand a guarantee of citizenship from state
authorities, something the government of Myanmar is hardly willing to oblige,
the article noted.

A citizenship law enacted in 1982 stripped the Rohingya of the same
privileges and citizenship rights of other ethnic minority groups in the
country, it said, adding that officials in Myanmar cast the Rohingya as a
“Bengali” population and describe the violent campaign in 2017 as a
counterterrorism operation against dangerous insurgents in Rakhine state,
which borders Bangladesh.

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