Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz has been quoted in Japanese and Bangladeshi media on the failed attempt to repatriate the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.

More than 1.1 million Rohingya refugees have taken shelter in Bangladesh since August 2017 after Myanmar military started an ethnic cleansing in the Rakhaine state. Thousands have been killed in the so-called security operation. Repatriation was supposed to start on August 24 under a bilateral agreement between these two countries, but none of the refugees volunteered to take the repatriation offer as their principal demands of ensuring safety, giving them Myanmar citizenship and holding the military and government officials accountable for the genocide have not been met.

Riaz spoke to leading Japanese newspaper the Tokyo Shimbun about the immediate problems faced by the refugees.

“The sympathy of the residents around the camp has faded and refugees have become a prey for trafficking as they are feeling a sense of despair. While the negative effects of prolonged problems, including education and health, are growing,” Riaz said.

In an interview with Bangladesh’s wire service United News of Bangladesh (UNB) Riaz said that bilateral effort to solve the crisis was a mistake and Bangladesh must internationalize the issue immediately. Referring to a proposal by the Bangladesh government that it will try to create an international commission, Riaz said if Bangladesh is serious about the proposal of forming an international commission it will have to start an open diplomatic effort and use “any leverage” it has with countries like China and India. Riaz said Myanmar has adopted a strategy that will continue to prevent an international effort to punish it for the crimes.