As 600,000 Rohingya make life in shambolic conditions mainly in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh after being forcefully evicted from their home nation of Myanmar, the Chinese Foreign Minister made a plea yesterday that the situation should be resolved through bilateral negotiations instead of an international initiative.
His statement appeared to reflect the view of much of the international community - most of whom appear to have already forgotten or are choosing to completely ignore the plight of the Rohingya, whose men women and women were attacked by the Myanmar army, killed in their hundreds and forced to seek sanctuary in neighbouring Bangladesh.
In the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka yesterday Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a press briefing that the international community should not complicate the situation, “China supports resolving the crisis peacefully, bilaterally with mutual consultation between Bangladesh and Myanmar,” he said.
The truth is human rights activist, diplomats and politicians do not expect the Myanmar government to begin the process of taking back the Rohingya who they view as alien Muslims belonging to Bangladesh in any case. The systematic burning of the homes of the Rohingya in the North Rakhine state and the decision to harvest Rohingya’s crops in absenteeism further adds to the genuine feeling that Myanmar have no intention of allowing the Rohingya to return to their homes – anytime soon.
The Bangladesh Foreign office spokesman last week made it clear that his country did not believe that negotiations with Myanmar would bring about a swift resolution to the plight of the Rohingya unless the ‘whole world stood in unison and pressured’ or even place sanctions of the Myanmar until it fulfilled its obligation towards its citizen.
Already the language that the Myanmar government had been involved in a genocide and ethnic cleansing now seems to have disappeared and as the world worries about the Middle East Crisis and the antics of President Donald Trump and Europe worries about Britain’s attempts to leave the European union, it seems inevitable that the plight of the Rohingya like the plight of the Palestinians will become a cruel waiting game where eventually the Rohingya, who politically have no allies across the world, will have to accept that they will not be able to return home.
The China FM may genuinely believe that bilateral talks are the best way forward but the urgency to rehouse the Rohingya is not simply not a burning issue on the world stage. Rohingya have therefore be willing to test the Myanmar willingness by voluntarily repatriating and see how they are received. Or quite frankly, Bangladesh will have to set a ‘fanfare’ deadline for the Rohingya to be returned.
For unless the issue continues to be in the public attention, Rohingya can say goodbye to their homes and the country to whom they rightfully belong.