Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's call to the international community to put more pressure on Myanmar to take back Rohingya refugees is very timely, because, it seems, only international pressure can make Myanmar act according to the deal. Myanmar's assertion that it has repatriated the first Rohingya family of five from Bangladesh just goes to show how insincere it is in honouring the repatriation agreement that was signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar last November. Rights activists and international relations experts have aptly called the move by Myanmar "a public relations stunt."
Meanwhile, the latest condition of the Rohingya people who are still living in Myanmar makes us all the more doubtful about Myanmar's sincerity in repatriating the Rohingya minorities. As the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs has said, after visiting Myanmar recently, that they continue to face “hardship and marginalisation due to movement restrictions that severely compromise their rights to health, livelihoods, protection, education and other essential services.”
As Canada and Britain have called for a meaningful investigation into the reported atrocities by the Myanmar army, we hope that other countries of the world would also voice similar concerns. The Myanmar army must be tried in the international criminal court for the crimes they have committed against their own people.
Moreover, since Myanmar has signed the bilateral agreement with Bangladesh amid global pressure, we believe that it is the international community that must continue to exert such pressure to make them take back the Rohingya refugees who are the rightful citizens of the Rakhine state. The UN should play a decisive role in the whole process. Myanmar must take the repatriation agreement seriously.