Over 94% of displaced Rohingya people said granting Myanmar citizenship, recognition of Rohingya as an ethnic group, and cash compensation would motivate them to return to their homeland, according to a research
Experts and policymakers in an international webinar suggested increasing international pressure and imposing trade sanctions on Myanmar and expelling the country from global forums to force it to ensure safe repatriation of and compensation to displaced Rohingya people.
Speakers at the webinar styled "Creating conditions for a sustainable return: Safety and compensation for Rohingya returnees" on Saturday, also said a great majority of the Rohingya in camps will consider returning to Myanmar only when they will feel safe and secure.
Meanwhile, some among the Rohingya refugees have started articulating the demand for compensation, beyond humanitarian assistance.
Shahriar Alam MP, state minister of foreign affairs, said the return of Rohingya is the only solution to the prolonged crisis. But, there is no sign of repatriation attempts, as yet.
He added that there is a lack of sincere political will on the part of Myanmar to resolve the crisis.
At the programme, Dr Mohshin Habib of the Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia presented the findings of a recent research on compensation for Myanmar's ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
"More than 79% of Rohingya would like to return to Myanmar as soon as possible. Besides, more than 94% of victims said granting citizenship and recognition of Rohingya as an ethnic group by the Myanmar government and cash compensation would motivate them to return to their homeland," he pointed out, quoting the research.
"An amount of $5.4 billion for Rohingya is assessed to be a fair compensation as of August 2020, the research revealed. But it is unrealistic to expect that the compensation for the refugees will come from aid funds," he added.
He further mentioned that Myanmar could be made to pay the compensation by international pressure, trade sanctions, threats of ICC action, and expulsion from world bodies.
Dr Waker Uddin, director general of Arakan Rohingya Union and professor at Pennsylvania State University, said, "The repatriation has to be done immediately. But, Myanmar has been using the pandemic as an excuse not to take any measures to create an atmosphere for commencing the repatriation process."
Md Shahidul Haque, former foreign secretary of Bangladesh, said, "The UN Security Council and the international community have utterly failed on the Rohingya issue. The UN Security Council has become dysfunctional."
Regarding the deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation in Arakan, Prof Imtiaz Ahmed, director of Genocide Studies Centre at Dhaka University, said, "China, India, and Japan are in the pocket of Myanmar now. It's a major contradiction for these countries that they actually support a country that has committed genocide."
"The international community has to put pressure on Japan and India and we need to decouple them," he added.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh's Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said the progress of Rohingya repatriation fully depends on the attitude of Myanmar. But the country does not show any sign of upholding the human rights of Rohingya.
Nay San Lwin of Free Rohingya Coalition said Arakan has to be demilitarised.
Prof Christine Jubb of Swinburne Business School and Sufiur Rahman, Bangladesh high commissioner to Australia jointly moderated the webinar.
Among others, reputed scholars and experts attended the programme organised jointly by an international consortium of universities (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia and Laurentian University, Canada), the Institution of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh, ASA Philippines Foundation, research centres from Australia and Canada (Bangladesh Research Institute, International Centre for Inter-Disciplinary Research in Law, Centre for Social Justice and Policy) and Ontario International Development Agency.