Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis & Possible Solutions

Posted by Ubaid Ba-Hussain
September 15, 2017

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Ubaid BahussainAt some time in 8th century, from Bengal in South East Asia, an ethnic group migrated to independent state of Rakhine near Myanmar. Arabs came on the coastal areas of Rakhine, introduced Islam to Rohingya and at the end of ninth century majority among them accepted Islam. They lived peacefully in independent Rakhine state but when Britishers took the state in their control (1824-1942) and offered favors to Rohingya Muslim and other tribes. This appeasement by British Empire caused violent clashes between local Buddhist and Rohingya Muslims. Violence erupted just few days after one of the Japanese King invaded (1942) Myanmar and Rakhine. Britishers again controlled this region after defeating (1946) to Japanese King with the help of Local Buddhist and Rohingya fighters. Eventually Britishers before leaving South East Asia made an interim government. The Buddhist Fighter Aung San become the first premier of independent Myanmar, which also included Rakhine State. Aggrieved upon this, local Muslims demanded autonomy for Rakhine state and they even approached Mohammed Ali Jinnah to get annexed some part of Rakhine state in the new born Islamic State of Pakistan. Jinnah simply refused saying it is an internal matter of Myanmar. Rohingya formed an organization and named it as “Mujahid”. This organization took violent ways to pursue their cause. They attacked Myanmar military, initially they succeeded in controlling of some parts of Rakhine state but when Myanmar military retaliated with full capacity, they surrendered themselves at large and this mutiny ended in few years (1960).

A decade long democratic government was overthrown by Myanmar Military; they declared it as Military state (1962) and this continued for five decades (2010). In between, Military government initiated strict military action against Rohingya Muslims and amended laws of citizenship, denouncing (1982) Rohingya as their citizens.

This crisis continued and remained unresolved since decades. Hundreds got killed and millions of Rohingya got displaced and migrated in neighboring countries. Their own country did not recognize them as their citizen, compelled them to remain in refugees’ camps fully guarded by Military and the movement of Rohingya and rights to access the education, employment and healthcare treatment is completely restricted. This problem is widely discussed in television debates and newspaper editorials throughout the world, but less is written about its possible solutions. So here are five point possible solutions to tackle the Rohingya Humanitarian crisis.

  1. It is not just the Myanmar Military systematically targeting Rohingya but also the majority community of Myanmar is also involved in the violence. In this matter, no country or group of nations can stop un-ending violence continued since decades by waging war against Myanmar. If the country is attacked, it will cause serious blow to country’s democratic government and its military will again get opportunity to take back the full control of the country.
  2. If Turkey or any other country is looking for military action on Myanmar, it will prove to be a very wrong fate for Rohingya living in Myanmar. For many years, the Military Government and religious leaders overtook each other. They preached among the majority Buddhist community that Rohingya Muslims are hateful. If military action is embarked, this will bring the innocent citizens of Myanmar at foreign targets; will cause deaths and casualties of even those who have not been so impressed by the propaganda of extremists. This will enrage the majority community at large and that they are bearing these losses just because of Rohingya and their foreign sympathizers.
  3. International fraternity should exert pressure on Myanmar’s largest supporter China on various International Platforms, such as ASEAN, SAARC and in United Nations. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh should collaborate and should extend cooperation to the Myanmar’s democratic government. In order to maintain peace and order in South East Asia, neighboring nations should emphasize the Myanmar government and it’s military, that they should recognize Rohingya as their country’s citizens and take necessary measures for their safety and security.
  4. If China uses their hard power to invest millions of dollars in Myanmar. India should use its Soft power to resolve this issue. Vulnerable Rohingya Muslims are living in Delhi, Hyderabad and Jammu, creating threat to internal security and burden on our resources.  With the help of Dalai Lama and other rational Muslim religious leaders, Government of India should take initiative to send a Peace Caravan from India to Myanmar. The sole aim of this caravan must be to severe mutual hatred between the Buddhist community and Rohingya Muslims. Government of India and concerned civil society members should try to initiate dialogues with thousands of Buddhist believers visiting Bodh Gaya temple every year.
  5. International fraternity should not only offer Rohingya Muslims an opportunity to get education, skill based trainings and employment in their nations but they should also offer scholarships and job visas to Buddhist Community youth of Myanmar. This engagement will empower the youth of newly democratized nation to get an idea of civilized culture in developed and developing societies about communal harmony and living with peace among the diverse ethnical communities. International fraternity should also seek opportunities for continuous dialogue with Myanmar government, its representatives, military establishment, religious leaders and representatives of non-governmental organizations to solve the problem. The solution of this matter seems to be possible in the near future, if the dialogues remained continuous with all the stakeholders.

Along with this, Rohingya Muslims should take this into their consideration, that there is no solution to this problem of violence against violence. “Ahimsa” the non-violence principle of Mahatma Gandhi, states that the mightiest can be brought to the ground. Whichever government perpetrates violence against a community or ethnic group, it exposes its intimidation in front of the entire world. But when the same group responds to violence by violence, no one at the international level sees who initiated the violence and thus this gives government a moral sanction, to respond to violence with extreme use of military actions. If some of the community members take up arms against the government, in retaliation by government many innocents of their own community would bear collateral loss. Non-violence is the only way that will make Rohingya cause justifiable and their struggle stronger and powerful, regardless of how weak or less in numbers they are..

Ubaid Bahussain, Political Activist & Writer

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