A crisis the world cannot ignore anymore


Where exactly is the international outrage regarding the Rohingya crisis?


It is incredibly encouraging to see that more and more regional voices are now speaking up on just how imperative it is that the Rohingya refugees currently being sheltered in Bangladesh be repatriated safely and promptly.

South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun on Wednesday stated the repatriation of the Rohingya to their homeland Myanmar with safety and dignity is the only solution to the crisis, and this repatriation should take place as soon as possible.

We cannot help but agree.

Bangladesh is taking care of a massive Rohingya population for five years now, and our resources have been stretched to the limit within that time. Housing, feeding, and providing various services to them comes at a price, and our country has been picking up the bill with little to no help in the way of international aid. But we are now far from the realm where international aid would make the situation sustainable.

This crisis is an injustice on multiple levels, from the lack of accountability on part of the Myanmar Army which carried out these acts, to the responsibility Bangladesh has fulfilled for so long by ensuring the safety and security of the refugees, to the undeniable suffering the Rohingya have gone through and continue to go through.

Where exactly is the international outrage regarding the Rohingya crisis?

The international community needs to step up, put pressure on Myanmar, and ensure that the Rohingya community’s sufferings come to an end and they can finally return home. To that end, the South Korean ambassador’s recent statement is, hopefully, a sign of things to come.

Five years after the latest and biggest mass exodus of Rohingya to Bangladesh, people in the camps say that the limbo they are living in is never-ending. They don't see much hope to get their normal lives back.

More than one million Rohingya currently reside in Bangladesh, but few people would call it home.

On a recent day, Hasina Begum asked her father to bring water from the community well because her husband was currently away from the refugee camp. This 23-year-old woman could not do it herself because of her physical inability, which she tried to conceal with her yellow dupatta – a shawl traditionally worn by women to cover the head and shoulders.

When asked the reason for her disability, Begum told DW with tears the story of a day five years back.

"The Myanmar military hit me with a rod. I was drenched with blood, and they thought I was dead. So they left me there," Begum said

Five years later, she still has pain in her head and feet.

Begum was a victim of a brutal clampdown by Myanmar's military in 2017. The Myanmar military began a sweeping campaign of massacres, rape, and arson in northern Rakhine State on August 25, 2017, following attacks on the border posts by some Rohingya militants.

The campaign killed thousands of Rohingya, according to many international organizations, including Doctors Without Borders.

At the time of the exodus, the United Nations say more than 745,000 people fled to neighboring Bangladesh. That figure now stands at over a million. Begum and her family now live in a refugee camp.

(Courtesy Dhaka Tribune)