In the wake of the three day trip of the members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) this week to Bangladesh and Myanmar to gather information about Rohingya refugee crisis, Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz was interviewed by Bangladeshi media; he also published a commentary in the Daily Star. More than 700,000 Rohingyas, ethnic Muslim population of Rakahine state of Myanmar, have taken shelter in Bangladesh after the Myanmar Army launched a security operation last August. The UN has described the crisis as one of the worst humanitarian crises and alleged Myanmar of ethnic cleansing.
Professor Riaz, in his interview with the national news wire service UNB, underscored the need for Bangladesh to take a proactive stance to convince the UNSC members for actions against the Myanmar government. “I’m afraid that Myanmar may use this as a public relation ploy and try to push the issue off the agenda of international community,” he said.
In his commentary titled “ROHINGYA CRISIS: A lot riding on the UNSC visit” Riaz insisted that the UN has failed the Rohingyas. The failure of the UN in past months to act on the issue is deplorable. Its members have to find ways to go around the threats of vetoes and act. Rohingyas can’t wait, neither can Bangladesh, for an indefinite period. He also said that the UNSC visit may turn out to be the most important opportunity for Bangladesh to internationalize the refugee crisis. Without a concerted and coordinated international effort to compel Myanmar to take back the refugees with dignity and safety, Rohingya refugees may end up in Bangladesh forever and Myanmar may succeed in pushing the issue off the international agenda.