Brig Gen (Retd) Dr M Sakhawat Hussain on Tuesday (Jan 31) said that the Rohingya crisis is already creating internal security threats and Bangladesh could become a “hotbed” in the future if the situation turns into a regional conflict involving India-China-the USA.
The former Election Commissioner made the remarks at a seminar titled “Restoring Peace in Myanmar: Two Years after the Military Coup” organized by the Center for Peace Studies (CPS) of the South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance at North South University.
Two years after a military coup in Myanmar, prospects for a return to peace remain bleak as the military has shown no sign of relenting and has instead doubled down on its efforts to continue its rule.
Unless the international community can pressure the military to relinquish power, the prospects for peace and democracy in Myanmar remain dim, speakers at the seminar observed.
Held at Syndicate Hall of North South University, the seminar was moderated by Dr. Ishrat Zakia Sultana, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Sociology Department.
The seminar was addressed by former Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, Professorial Fellow at SIPG, SIPG Senior Fellow and former Election Commissioner Brig. Gen. Dr. M. Sakhawat Hussain, a Faculty of the University of Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Malaysia Dr. Mahbubul Haque, and President of Rohingya Intellectual Community Australia and Chair of Foreign Affairs of Arakan Rohingya National Organization Dr. Hla Myint, Dr. Zaw Wai Soe, Minister of Health and Education, NUG of Myanmar, joined the program.
Observing that the country never experienced democracy in the past, Shahidul Haque urged concerted efforts of international agencies to help various groups fighting for democracy in Myanmar.
Dr. Mahbubul Haque suggested Myanmar democracy activists to include Rohingya issue in their ongoing movement.
Dr. Zaw, addressing the issue of Rohingya crisis said, “Rohingya is our people.”
He further resolved that the National Unity Government will solve the Rohingya conflict.
Dr. Hla Myint said, “We the Rohingya, are the most persecuted people in the world. Leaders of the Rohingya community determine a point that it will be in the best interest of the Rohingya community to solve the Rohingya issue by unity. Therefore we have formed Arakan Rohingya Alliance. The primary objective is to seek the right to self-determination and reach out to international actors for the interest of the Rohingya people globally and locally.”
Speakers accused the Myanmar military of committing human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and the use of torture. In addition, the military imposed an internet shutdown, curtailed press freedom, and conducted mass arrests of political dissidents.
With no end to the military’s rule, the people of Myanmar are facing an uncertain future; the discussants observed and urged the international community to take urgent action to ensure that the country can return to democracy and the rule of law and that the human rights of its citizens are respected.
Professor Sk. Tawfique M. Haque, Director, South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG), NSU delivered the concluding speech.