As Myanmar finalises the plan to repatriate the first batch of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, doubts still remain regarding the viability of the plan and the authenticity of Myanmar’s intentions.
While the solution should undoubtedly be one that allows the Rohingya to return to their homeland with all their rights fully ensured, any form of celebration on the world’s end would be premature.
It is no doubt that the case of the forced migration of the Rohingya remains one of the worst humanitarian crises the world has seen in recent years. And Bangladesh has set an example to the world on how to tackle a refugee crisis of this magnitude by accepting them.
But we must continue to show the same level of dedication to humanity in the coming months.
With the process on the brink of execution, we must ask: Why do so many questions and doubts remain regarding the repatriation procedure?
Myanmar must do a better job of ensuring that the Rohingya – who are on their way back – do not find themselves in similar situations, situations which they had fled from in the first place.
This would completely defeat the last few months of hard work that Bangladesh, along with several other entities, have put in to keep the Rohingya safe, secure, and provided for.
The other burning question is regarding the United Nation’s complete lack of involvement. If Myanmar’s intentions remain true, they should have no qualms in having UN representatives oversee the repatriation process.
There are still reports of continued military operations in Rakhine state, which remains suspiciously closed-off to the media.
Moving forward, Bangladesh needs to be careful. Myanmar has yet to be fully forthcoming regarding the Rohingya repatriation process, and we cannot be premature in our eagerness to give them their right of return.
Myanmar must be transparent in regards to the process, and ensure the safety of the Rohingya in front of the whole world.
This article first appeared in the Dhaka Tribune.