Exchange to Change January 2018 E2C January 2018 web | Page 9

INTERVIEW Rohingya people. Knowing about the Holocaust, the genocides in Rwanda or Cambodia and how the international community could have prevented these atrocities from happening, you would expect that more would have been done by now to help the Rohingya people. Even though some world leaders and the UN have strongly condemned the violence against the Rohingya people, I do not see any real international action. I am afraid that - once again - economic and political interests will prevail over human lives. You are working for Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB). Which role does your organization play with regards to the Rohingya refugees? Juel: In October 2017, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) conducted a rapid assessment of the crisis and released a report, proposing a number of concrete recommendations to address governance challenges in managing the crisis. One of the major recommendations made to the government of Bangladesh is to conduct a needs and risks assessment of the Rohingya crisis and act upon it accordingly. As a continuation of its objectives, TIB has also been observing the situation and enlightening concerned authorities on the risks of corruption and irregularities. As part of the effort, TIB has protested against the World Bank’s interest free (though not condition free) loan provisions to Bangladesh to address this crisis. TIB’s position is against imposing a debt burden on Bangladesh for the Rohingya crisis which is not in any way internal or created by Bangladesh. A huge international response and collective action from the international communities will be required. How do you think the conflict will evolve in the future? Which impact could this situation have in the future? Aung: More than 820,000 Rohingya have already fled Myanmar for Bangladesh. How much more human suffering and destruction will come before the leverage is reached to stop it? No one should underestimate the complexity of this crisis and the vested interests in it. But it is urgently important to stop violence and human suffering. Otherwise, it will amount to a genocidal process. It is also important to de-escalate the growing momentum of religion and ethnic identity-based nationalism in the country so as to rethink this whole national identity saga, which is one of the major underlying root causes in this crisis. Juel: Unfortunately, it may take some time until a sustainable solution is found. I believe the only solution to 9 the crisis is that Bangladesh and Myanmar reach a consensus and set a framework of agreement to gradually bring an end to the crisis. Until the forcefully displaced Rohingyas are taken back to Myanmar with the status of Myanmar citizens, the Bangladesh government with support from international communities should manage the situation in a responsible manner as well as strive to come up with a sustainable solution by means of strengthening its diplomatic efforts. It is crucial to seek positive support from China, Russia and India to come to a solution. They are not acting at the expected level and ignoring the heinous human rights violations and ‘ethnic cleansing’ (termed by the UN) by the Myanmar Army. Humanity should get first priority; not the mere economic gains or narrow political agenda. The UN should act properly on this grave concern. Moreover, international human rights agencies and development partners of Bangladesh should extend their support to Bangladesh to manage the burden until a sustainable solution to this crisis is found. E xchange to change J anuary 2018