15 | FEB | 2019
(Top) President Peña Nieto greets Bangladesh Ambassador to Mexico, (Bottom) Rohingya exodus into Bangladesh, (Left) Rohingya woman gazes at the ashes of a village burned down - Photos: Courtesy of Bangladesh Embassy in Mexico

Bangladesh demands halt to Rohingyas exodus

Gabriel Moyssen
Mexico City
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Bangladeshi Ambassador to Mexico, Supradip Chakma, acknowledged Mexico's political stand towards Myanmar's crisis

The latest humanitarian crisis, of catastrophic proportions, has broken worldwide with the exodus of the Rohingyas to Bangladesh. Rohingyas are a Muslim minority in Myanmar, who are being persecuted by radical Buddhists in former Burma.

Around 300,000 Rohingya refugees have made their way to the neighboring country of Bangladesh since attacks against them escalated on August 25 this year. In the meantime, the commitment of 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and First State Counsellor of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, to reach a peaceful political solution to the conflict, is being questioned.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Bangladeshi Ambassador to Mexico, Supradip Chakma, underlined that his government adheres to the established international principles and conventions that provide asylum to refugees who escape the violence unleashed by Myanmar military forces, after a series of Rohingya attacks to the Border Guard in the Rakhine state took place. At the same time, ambassador Chakma calls upon Yangon authorities to cease attacks on the Rohingyas, so as to stabilize the region and promote the return of civilians to their native communities.

The Rohingya have been the target of systematic violence, including the burning of their villages, in what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has rated as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Ambassador Chakma underlined that “Bangladesh considers that the Rohingyas issue has exceeded Myanmar capacities while posing serious border repercussions. The flow of refugees and undocumented people throughout Southeast Asia has transformed into a problem that may negatively impact the stability of the region.”

Ambassador Chakma also acknowledged Mexico’s political standing towards the conflict. Only last Tuesday, September 11, Mexico Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) issued a press release where “solidarity with Bangladeshi authorities, which have welcomed thousands of refugees as a result of the Rakhine crisis” was expressed.

Mexico expressed “its support and solidarity with Bangladesh as we know that Mexico has a very clear standing as regards Human Rights.” , said Chakma.

He added, “Myanmar military have used attacks to their security posts as a pretext to suppress the whole of the Rohingya minority, while its government have tried to mislead the world by presenting the current crisis as an isolated case of Islamic terrorism and concealing its root causes. The extremist and terrorist rhetoric has been used to justify actions against an entire community, with the seeming purpose of casting them out of their ancestral territory, while the whole world witnesses how a milenary society with a distinctive culture is being systematically uprooted. Bangladesh calls for Myanmar to adopt immediate action for the return of the almost one million fellow nationals who have crossed the shared border since 1992.”

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council, as well as its Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, called upon Myanmar authorities to put a halt on violence, while Mohammed Abdiker, UN Director of Operations and Emergencies at the International Organization for Migration, asked the international community to raised its aid efforts for the refugees in Bangladesh capital city of Dhaka.

However, the crisis has been polarized with the support China has offered Yangon, as the Chinese ambassador to Myanmar, Hong Liang, had declared that the crisis has to do with “an internal affair” and even claimed that the “counterattacks (of the security forces) are welcomed against terrorists “, as well as the “government efforts to provide assistance.” , according to the Global New Light daily.

A struggle for Rohingya natural resources lies at the root of the problem for ambassador Chakma, rather than a religious or ethnic divide.

Ambassador Chakma excluded the notion of referring to Aung San Suu Kyi as a "weak leader" and noted that Myanmar is one of the most isolated countries of the world which has made some progress towards openness and democratization only in the last couple of years. Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s “Iron Lady” held a long crusade against Burma dictatorship,  to defend her country's democracy.

Nevertheless, the de facto leader of Myanmar has been harshly criticized for blaming “terrorists” of the crisis, particularly after she offered to look for a “tenable solution aimed at peace, stability and the development of all communities” in 2016 during a UN General Assembly meeting. Western press is already putting the possibility of a removal of her Nobel Prize on the table.


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