The government should immediately form a high-powered cell headed by the prime minister to expedite diplomatic efforts so the international community mounts pressure on Myanmar for the repatriation of the Rohingyas, said speakers at a roundtable yesterday.
They also urged all irrespective of race, culture, group and political ideologies to build a national unity to assist the government to tackle the crisis.
Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (SHUJAN), a civil society platform, organised the roundtable on “Rohingya Crisis: Current Situation and Solution” at Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
Columnist Syed Abul Maksud said the Bangladesh embassy in Myanmar had failed to inform the government in advance on Myanmar's internal situation before the persecution took place in Rakhine State in late August.
“If the government was informed in advance, it could have handled the situation in a more planned way,” he said.
Instead of only relying on the bureaucrats, he said, political leadership is more important to deal with the matter. The government needs to form a high-powered cell immediately.
Munshi Faiz Ahmad, chairman of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), said the government is making all-out efforts to solve the problem. “But it may take time to get results,” he said.
He also said there is no visible initiative to create unity among people over the Rohingya issue.
Former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury said Myanmar is carrying out atrocities against the Rohingyas since 1978.
Former adviser to a caretaker government M Hafiz Uddin Khan said the international media is not covering the Rohingya crisis the same way they covered the Syrian one.
CR Abrar, professor of international relations at Dhaka University, urged the government to recognise the Rohingyas as refugees.
Ali Imam Majumder, executive member of SHUJAN and former cabinet secretary, said the crisis may become more complex. Vested groups may take advantage of it. If that happens, it will create instability in the region, and that is why Bangladesh needs to adopt all possible measures to solve the problem.
Rights activist Hameeda Hossain and SHUJAN Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar also spoke.