By Smriti Rana:
A recent eruption of turmoil in Rakhine, Myanmar, has seen the Rohingya Muslims facing attacks by the native Buddhist majority following the rape of a Rakhine woman by three Rohingya men. Thousands of Muslims are fleeing from Myanmar after dozens were killed in religious violence. They took to the river Naf in hopes of finding their way to and refuge in the neighboring country of Bangladesh. But as of now, more than a dozen boats filled with the Rohingya have been denied access to Bangladesh and been forced back to sea.
Bangladesh refuses to open their borders as they already have around 300,000 Rohingya in several government camps. They believe their overstrained economy can not handle any more refugees. Maybe their concerns are very real, but at this moment sending the Muslims back to Rakhine is not at all right considering the threat to their lives they’re facing there. The Rohingya have been a stateless minority for a while now, with Myanmar saying their ancestors are from Bangladesh and not granting them citizenship and Bangladesh saying they’ve been living in Myanmar and so should settle there as their economy is not strong enough to support so many more people. They have been persecuted for ages with no stop to this being seen now.
What’s happening with them being turned back is not justifiable and if anything is to happen to them, Bangladesh will have to answer. How can they so easily refuse help to those in need? Turning back more than 100 women and children knowing that their lives are at peril? How can that be right in anyone’s eyes? They could at least offer them temporary sanctuary if not permanent residence. This has now caused an international issue with the UN questioning how basic humanitarian aid is being refused. Talks will be held between Myanmar and Bangladesh in early July. But till then what happens to the stranded Rohingya ? Though New York Based Human Rights Watch is working on making the situation a little bit better, and offering protection to the Rohingya returning to Myanmar, they cannot prevent the attacks. Is it right to blame and attack an entire community because of the acts of few reckless people belonging to it? The answer to that is simply no and the outbreak of such immature violence and killing of innocent people goes to show how much growing up is still needed in our country The main problem here is neither how the Rohingya Muslims are mistreated and not accepted as part of any of the two countries nor the problems they’ve faced and continue to face. It has more to do with one person turning a blind eye to the pleas of another, not taking heed of the consequences and dispatching much right into the clutches of danger and possible death.