Myanmar Spring Chronicle – August 28 Scenes
MoeMaKa, August 29, 2023
The Rohingya issue that still cannot find a way to solution
More than 1 million refugees have been taking shelter in neighboring countries for 6 years, and the Rohingya issue, which has yet to find a solution, is becoming a major refugee problem with international and regional implications. It is not a problem of thousands or tens of thousands of refugees, but of millions of refugees. For 6 years, about 1 million people have been living in crowded places in the neighboring country of Bangladesh. They are living in a situation where they have no right to work, their children have no right to regular education, and they don’t know when they will be allowed to return to their original place of residence. The situation where they live only by expecting food aid in such conditions is said to have a great impact on the dignity of human beings.
In Myanmar, there are already people who have fled their homes and lived as IDPs for more than a decade, as well as people who have lived for more than a decade in border refugee camps opened by a neighboring country. Since the late 1990s, hundreds of thousands of refugees from Karen State have emerged and are still taking shelter in refugee camps on the Thai border. Also in Kachin State, tens of thousands of IDPs have been living in Kachin State and Northern Shan State since the resumption of battles between the KIA and the military near Myitsone in 2011. In areas like Kutkai and Namhkam in Northern Shan State, refugees from Kachin State have been living for years. Refugees fleeing the war from Karen State are still living in Mae La and Ohn Phyan on the Thai-Myanmar border after more than 20 years.
The Rohingya refugee issue has the same characteristics as the war refugees stated above, but also different characteristics. Many villages in Rakhine State where they once lived were destroyed by the army to make them uninhabitable, and even if they are allowed to repatriate, it is not clear whether they will be allowed to live in their original areas and villages or not. Although there is hope for refugees from Kachin State, Northern Shan State, and Karen State, that they would be able to return to their villages if there had been no fighting, the Rohingya refugees are not sure if they will be allowed to live in their previously lived villages.
After the genocide of the Rohingya, the neighboring country of Bangladesh was praised and remembered politically for accepting Rohingya refugees, but after 6 years, the refugee issue has become a burden for it.
Therefore, it is reported in the news that the delegation of Bangladesh will visit the Myanmar side for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees. Before this, some representatives from the refugee side visited Myanmar, and officials from Myanmar’s Rakhine State government also visited Bangladesh and met with the refugees.
The question may arise whether the Rohingya refugees will return to Myanmar after waiting until a democratically elected government is installed in Myanmar and the current political problems are resolved, or whether, even under the current situation, the refugees will return to Myanmar after demanding some basic rights and guarantees and the military council agrees to them.
The United Nations and some international human rights organizations do not encourage Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar under the current situation. But on the other hand, there are difficulties in standing for the refugees, in other words, no organization is taking responsibility for providing the necessary food and aid. In other words, it is time to make a clear decision about whether the Rohingya refugee issue is a problem to be solved after the Myanmar crisis is resolved, or whether it is a problem to be solved simultaneously.
One of the main factors in resolving the outbreak of civil wars due to extremism, conservatives of race and religion, and ethnic peoples fleeing from their homes is their inability to give up their prejudices and their unwillingness to accept change. In order to get out of the situation in these countries, it is the fastest way to free these areas from poverty. It is also important for wealthy people, entrepreneurs, and academics themselves to decide to encourage and invest in the community in order to get those in power to back down and free minorities and refugees from poverty.