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Myanmar election won't pave way for Rohingya repatriation

Experts opine at webinar

November 11, 2020 00:00:00

Center for Peace Studies (CPS) under the South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG) at North South University (NSU) organised a webinar titled "Myanmar Election 2020: Impacts on Rohingya Crisis" on zoom platform on Tuesday, said a statement.

Distinguished panelists from Bangladesh, India, and Canada discussed Myanmar's recent parliamentary election and its impact on the Rohingya crisis.

Coordinator of CPS Dr Ishrat Zakia Sultana said when a country that excludes 2.6 million people from its national election, it raises concerns whether this county would show any interest in resolving the Rohingya crisis.

Against India's failure to deliver its expected role, Prof Nehginpao Kipgen of O. P. Jindal Global University, India, said India itself had failed to repatriate 40,000 stranded Rohingya in Myanmar. Regarding Bangladeshi stranded Rohingya, he said India has always been a champion of Myanmar because of its economic growth, trade interests, and border security. At the same time, India does not want to worsen its bilateral relations with Myanmar because of its geopolitical strategy.

Prof ASM Ali Ashraf of Department of International Relations, Dhaka University, said it is obvious that Myanmar's election was a farce. In resolving the Rohingya crisis, China's role must be considered. China's establishment of a deep seaport in Rakhine, we can assume that the chances of Rohingya's sustainable return are all but slim.

In his discussion on the role of Myanmar's election on the Rohingya crisis, Brig Gen (retd) Dr Sakhawat Hussain, senior fellow of SIPG, said the election commission could not work independently in Myanmar. He thinks that due to the absence of dominant oppositional political parties, Myanmar's result was quite expected.

Associate Professor of NSU Dr M Jashim Uddin said Myanmar election would not be playing any role in resolving the Rohingya crisis or Rohingya repatriation.

Executive Director of Conflict and Resilience Research Institute Canada Dr Kawser Ahmed said it is hard to expect anything in the development of geo-politics centered around the Rohingya crisis because of indirect support to Myanmar from China and India. There is no alternative to keeping the global pressure on Myanmar, he added.

Lead strategist of Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative and student of University of Toronto, Jaivet Ealom, said like the Rohingya, other minority Muslim communities in Myanmar could not participate in the election. Myanmar government tactfully kept them away from the election.

SIPG's Senior Fellow and former ambassador Shahidul Haque moderated the discussion. He mentioned it is understandable how far the election has been transparent when a large section of its population could not participate in the election.

NSU VC Prof Atiqul Islam and chair of the webinar said, "Despite perceiving the importance of the problem, if the whole world does not help us, we have to find out an alternative and to do that, we need to continue our robust coordination taking our real friendly countries with us with a realistic strategy. However, we have to be pragmatic to move ahead."

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