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Storms ahead for Rohingya refugees

Storms ahead for Rohingya refugees

With all attention focused on the events following the coup in Myanmar, where the death toll has already surpassed 1,000, Bangladesh is contending with the new reality of over one million Rohingya refugees becoming a permanent fixture within its borders.

When the military decided to remove the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party, they not only ended the veneer of democracy in Myanmar but also closed off the possibility of any progress that may have been made in talks to repatriate the Rohingya to their homeland.

With this new reality dawning, Bangladesh has been seeking international diplomatic support to explore any possible avenues to return the Rohingya to their rightful homes across the border. Unfortunately there is not much assistance any international actor can provide at this stage. The new military led government in Naypyidaw is fully occupied after they miscalculated and bit off much more than they could chew. And with every passing day, as the protests continue and the death toll rises, the collapse of the Myanmar state becomes much more likely. So the generals have little appetite to visit the Rohingya issue.

Dhaka on the other hand is fully cognizant that there will be little justification in sending refugees back to a country where there is blood running in the streets. So they have also been robbed of any hope to relieve some of the pressure in Cox’s Bazar. From Dhaka’s point of view, this situation is not sustainable. The Rohingya occupy the largest refugee camp in the world in one of the most densely populated countries in the world where the land mass is shrinking every year due to rising sea levels and climate change. Add to this recent outbreaks of fires within the camp and you can appreciate the full extent of Dhaka’s predicament.

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