The war between the Junta Army and the armed Arakan Army is going on in the Bangladesh-Myanmar border region. Arakan Army base in the border area. There the junta forces are firing mortar shells and shells. Worryingly, their mortar shells and shells are falling inside Bangladesh. Myanmar helicopter is entering the airspace of Bangladesh. Recently, when a shell from Myanmar exploded in a Rohingya camp located on the zero line of the border, an unexpected incident occurred, killing one person and injuring five others. On the same day, a Bangladeshi youth’s leg was blown off by a mine explosion at the border.
The incidents of shelling and mortar shelling inside Bangladesh and intrusion into Bangladeshi airspace prove how callous and reckless the junta government of Myanmar is. Such unwanted, anti-neighborly and provocative behavior is a new wound in Bangladesh-Myanmar bilateral relations. Such behavior is a clear violation of international law and a flagrant violation of the UN Charter.
Myanmar is neighboring country of Bangladesh. Maintaining good relations with neighboring countries should be part of diplomacy. The main mantra of our foreign policy is ‘friendship with all, enmity with none’. Following this foreign policy of Bangabandhu, Bangladesh is moving forward by maintaining good inter-state relations. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made a significant comment that Bangladesh is showing maximum restraint despite the impact of Myanmar’s internal conflict in its own region. As a peaceful nation we do not want conflict with any country. Bangladesh wants a peaceful solution to the Myanmar problem, not war or hostility. Myanmar should also respect the sovereignty of neighboring Bangladesh.
Many fear that the incidents of mortar shelling and shelling at the shelter camp across the Ghumdhum border of Naikxyongchari Upazila of Bandarban may be planned. Because, Myanmar’s junta forces have long ago planned to remove the Rohingyas from the refugee camp to Bangladesh! But because the home of the Rohingyas is in the Rakhine state behind the shelter camp, they are not willing to leave this place and go elsewhere. Bangladesh is already burdened by more than 1 million Rohingya refugees due to the conflict in Myanmar. Which has caused severe pressure on our economy and environment. Bangladesh gave shelter to the Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds.
The Rohingyas are now causing a multifaceted crisis for Bangladesh. Rising crime in the Rohingya refugee camps located in Teknaf and Ukhia upazilas has become a problem for Bangladesh. The camps have become one of the sources of drug trafficking. Armed criminal gangs engage in regular conflicts, murders and drug-trafficking are common occurrences. Their activities are indirectly going in favor of the Myanmar junta, which is not desirable. Instead of taking back their citizens, Myanmar is throwing mortar shells on the border with Bangladesh. If this provocation by Myanmar continues, the diplomatic relations between the two countries will become complicated. We hope that in the future, Myanmar will treat Bangladesh as a good neighbor. They will keep a watchful eye so that their mortar shells or shells do not reach the border of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has been giving utmost importance in maintaining harmony and cordial relations with neighboring countries.
Despite repeated protests, Bangladesh will not be allowed to sit back if Myanmar does not abandon its belligerent attitude. The issue should be raised in international forums including the United Nations. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, we do not want war. Clearly, we want a peaceful solution to this. Our efforts will continue to resolve peacefully. We are trying that. The matter should be resolved peacefully. However, the border guarding forces should be on alert. BGB and Coast Guard should always be vigilant in Myanmar border area.
BGB-Coast Guard is working to prevent any new Rohingya from entering Bangladesh. Even then, two are risking their lives. They are being pushed back and sent back. It is always advisable to keep vigilance to prevent Rohingya from re-entering Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is in favor of solving the problem with Myanmar through bilateral talks. Bangladesh protested strongly by summoning the country’s ambassador U Aung Kyaw Mo for the fourth time on Sunday in these incidents. The Myanmar ambassador has been summoned and asked to exercise restraint so that the incidents that are happening on the border are not repeated. What is happening in Myanmar is their internal matter.
It is their responsibility to ensure that Myanmar’s mortar shells and shells do not reach our soil. But if the situation takes a more negative form, then Bangladesh will also have to think about the matter afresh. In this situation, to solve the Rohingya problem with the current situation, not only the neighboring friendly country India, but other allied countries such as China and Russia can be sat on the negotiation table.
In February 2021, the junta government of senior general Min Aung Hlaing came to power after ousting the government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Since then, torture and oppression have increased manifold. 2 thousand 249 people have been killed so far after the military coup. Senior pro-democracy leaders have been hanged. About 15 thousand people have been arrested. Those who participated in non-violent peaceful protests were also jailed or killed. At least 28 thousand houses have been burnt. Millions of people are displaced. When they can return to normal life, no one knows! Myanmar’s junta government cares little about international organizations.
In August 2017, when the military junta in Myanmar’s Rakhine started an ethnic cleansing campaign, about seven and a half million Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in the face of murder, rape and arson. In total, more than 1.1 million Rohingyas have taken refuge in Bangladesh. Gambia, a Muslim-majority country in Africa, filed a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on November 11, 2019, calling this atrocity a genocide. The world’s highest judicial body has ruled in favor of the case by rejecting the various objections raised by Myanmar against the case. In addition to denying the charges, Myanmar maintained that Gambia had no right to file the case and that this court had no jurisdiction to try it.
The ICJ gave some guidance to Myanmar in the interim ruling. It called on the Myanmar government to take effective measures to protect the 650,000 Rohingya Muslims at risk in Rakhine and rein in the Myanmar army. It also said to take all kinds of measures so that the army or any other security forces do not carry out or incite genocide. International pressure must be exerted to implement the interim ruling.
People of various ethnic groups in Myanmar are diaspora in their own land. Victims of torture by the junta, many people left the country! The latest conflict has spread to northern Rakhine state. There, ordinary Rohingyas are victims of the Arakan Army’s fight with the army. The United Nations has accused Myanmar’s junta of genocide and crimes against humanity. The international community must take stronger action to stand up for the ordinary people of Myanmar and to economically isolate the military junta government. The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Myanmar since Aung San Suu Kyi took power after ousting the elected government.
But several countries are supplying military equipment to the junta, which is unsanctioned. In such a situation, the United Nations Human Rights Office has called on member states to ban the sale of arms to Myanmar. At the same time, they called for a ban so that the military does not get access to foreign currency reserves through their own businesses. The international community should take stronger measures to prevent arms sales to Myanmar. Because these weapons are going into the hands of the Myanmar military.
The provocative and bellicose attitude of Myanmar’s junta government and the Rohingya extermination campaign are the epitome of barbarity. Such behavior not only complicates the Rohingya crisis, but also poses a threat to regional peace and security. Therefore, the United Nations, the international community, major powers and regional countries should take immediate and effective measures against Myanmar. It is also important to discuss and accept the condemnation resolution in the UN Security Council. Aggressive and anti-humanitarian actions of Myanmar’s military junta government – must be resisted now. Otherwise the country will become more brutal and dangerous and pose a major threat to regional and international security.
Author: Treasurer, Barisal University; Former Professor, Dhaka University