Across the sub-regional neighboruhood of Bangladesh, ethnic and religious minorities in Myanmar and parts of India are faced with the suppression of their human rights and dignity. As a de jure democracy founded on the principles of universal human rights, a response from Bangladeshi institutions, be it parliament or the government, is imperative for our national security and conscience.
The eruption of the Rohingya conflict on our southeastern doorstep is an important case point. Notwithstanding the disputes between our government and international organisations over the rights and living conditions of over 300,000 Rohingya refugees, Bangladesh needs to develop a more vocal strategy at the global level.
Countering Myanmar propaganda and advocating Rohingya rights on the international stage is in our core interests. For example, the prime minister can raise the issue of the plight of the Rohingya during her annual speech to the UN General Assembly in September. She may wish to highlight the heritage of Rakhine State as a crossroads between the Indian sub-continent and Southeast Asia, stress the role of Buddhists, Muslims, and Bengalis in an intertwined history and recall the promises made to the Rohingya by the founding fathers of Burma.
Indeed, the prime minister may highlight the myriad ethnic conflicts which plague Myanmar today as a whole. Aside from Rakhine State, insurgents control large parts of the Shan, Kachin, Kayah, Chin, Mon, and Kayin States. The Christian Kachin and Chin populations are also among the worst affected in Myanmar’s internal conflict.
Read more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/opinion/op-ed/2017/03/14/minorities-in-the-neighbourhood/
Dhaka Tribune, March 14, 2017