Next Friday, the prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, will address the UNGA for a record-breaking 19th time. It is an outstanding accomplishment for any world leader. Bangladesh has taken the lead at many UN forums under her astute leadership, and the international community has praised Bangladesh for its accomplishments over the past decade. While highlighting our successes and ambitions, we must this time pay particular attention to managing our neighbor Myanmar, which has long delayed the Rohingya repatriation issue and caused needless but vicious unrest along our borders.
On September 20, the PM is also expected to attend the “UNGA Platform of Women Leaders.”On September 22, in addition to her other commitments at the UNGA, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will take part in a high-level debate in New York on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly. On September 21, there will be another side event about sustainable housing at the UNGA. On September 23, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, will address the 77th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. The prime minister will deliver the speech in Bangla like in the past, following in the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
In her speech at the UNGA on September 23, 2022, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is anticipated to draw attention to the difficulties that developing nations confront in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and stress the need of multilateralism. In order to end the situation without using unilateral coercive measures or sanctions, the prime minister is expected to emphasize the need of finding solutions to issues through mutual conversations. The United Nations General Assembly’s 77th session is centered on the subject “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking issues.”
In addition to the aforementioned activities, there will be two other high-level sessions on “Multilateralism and Food Security” and “Future of Digital Cooperation: Building resilience through secure, trusted, and inclusive digital public infrastructure.” The Padma Multipurpose Bridge will also be the subject of a picture exhibition at the UN headquarters.
While we concentrate on our accomplishments and the current global crisis, it has become crucial to draw attention to Myanmar’s recent activities at the UNGA. The relevance of ethnic diversity and religious tolerance in Myanmar must be raised by the international community. The narco economy and ethnic tensions are larger issues than just the difficulties in Rakhine and with the Rohingyas. To maintain a peaceful cohabitation, Bangladesh, nevertheless, displays her pragmatic behavior with the Myanmar dictatorship.
The recent mortar shelling at Tamru and Ghumdhum of Naikhongchhari in Bandarban, which is close to the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar, starting on August 28 and continuing, has presented diplomatic and security challenges for Bangladesh. The fire into Bangladesh by Myanmar, which violates international law and conventions, was denounced by the home minister of Bangladesh, ambassadors from other countries, and experts in foreign affairs.
The recent aggressiveness of the Myanmar Junta shows how careless the nation has become. It should be noted that in July 2018, Myanmar too transgressed Bangladesh’s airspace. At least three times in August 2017, when hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh to escape the ethnic cleansing carried out by the Myanmar army, helicopters from Myanmar crossed into Bangladeshi airspace.
The recent event is the outcome of domestic anti-insurgency efforts by the Myanmar Junta that have crossed its border. The military’s assaults are a well-known example of collective revenge against populations of ethnic minorities in war areas.An important source of revenue for Myanmar is the oil and gas pipeline network in the Rakhine State. The State Administration Council (SAC) leadership sought to limit AA activities in order to reduce the amount of resources they were taking from the Rakhine state. Many believe that the Myanmar Army is fighting again with ethnic armed groups despite international pressure because China and Russia are supporting Myanmar. But it should remain as their internal issue.
Myanmar has apologized to China and Thailand to maintain cordial relations. But after the first mortar shells attack in Bangladesh on Aug. 28, Bangladesh called Myanmar’s envoy and he exempted it as ‘unintentional’ without any apologies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called the ambassador of Myanmar to Bangladesh three times in the past two weeks to express Bangladesh’s profound concern over an airstrike, a violation of airspace, and the launching of mortar shells that have landed inside Bangladesh.
Two scenarios have been proposed as the causes of Myanmar’s belligerent actions toward Bangladesh. First, Myanmar intends to postpone any measures for repatriation in order to put off the long-overdue return of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar by fabricating a terrifying scenario about the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh and a civil war there. Second, Myanmar is intentionally provoking Bangladesh to war in order to divert attention away from the atrocities committed by the Junta government in Myanmar.
The Myanmar army is acting illegally inside eight kilometers of the border, and it is also forbidden to fire at Bangladesh’s border, according to international law. The most recent attacks by Myanmar are insulting to the sovereignty of Bangladesh, the bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and Myanmar, and the peace in the area. The Myanmar government has not made an official statement about the incident or its stance on the attacks in Bangladesh. On September 10, the high commissioners of Malaysia, Canada, the UK, and Japan expressed their worry over Myanmar’s disregard for international law, which has a detrimental effect on regional and Indo-Pacific security.
Bangladesh displays its composure by embracing diplomatic pragmatism, despite the fact that the Bangladeshi government has severely condemned Myanmar’s breach of international law. However, in order to address the current difficulties, Bangladesh has demonstrated its steadfast conviction in peaceful coexistence and a neighborly approach. Unstable Myanmar undoubtedly poses a security risk to Bangladesh and the region. The visionary leadership of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina prevented a military confrontation between the two nations in the face of serious provocations from Myanmar.
There are 135 ethnic groups in Myanmar, who mostly reside in the bordering areas. Some of them are Bamar, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Kayan, Mon, Rakhine, Shan, Moyon Naga, Palaung, Wa, Lamkang Naga, Akha, Paranaga, Jingpo, Lisu, Milhiem etc. These ethnic groups comprises of a major poart of their population and area. The Myanmar military junta conducted ethnic cleansing on the Rohingyas in the name of Buddhism using the dark silence of Aung San SuuKyi. Now, they are oppressing most of these ethnic groups to establish their control. Due to their failure in that mission, they are trying to enrage the bordering neighbors to divert focus. In this process, all bordering nations of Myanmar – Bangladesh, India, China, Thailand and Laos will be disturbed. The situation may become graver than the current Russia-Ukraine war if Myanmar continues their atrocities.
A conflict will unavoidably break out if Myanmar’s actions keep up in a globe that is already suffering the aftereffects of numerous wars and COVID-19 pandemic. By supplying defense supplies and training, the US intends to help Bangladesh’s armed services modernize and develop institutionally. In order for Bangladesh to purchase cutting-edge American armaments, the United States is willing to provide military loans. This statement was made by Donna A.Welton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State. That will undoubtedly aid Bangladesh in gaining the upper hand over Myanmar. In that scenario, additional major players will participate. However, the regional peace will be jeopardized, and ultimately, the people will suffer.
This UNGA provides a great opportunity to win the backing of international leaders and put pressure on Myanmar to end its atrocities. The lunatic military junta rulers of Myanmar should receive no support from the international community. Millions of people are getting brutally tortured and even being forced out of Myanmar. Moreover, the military junta in Myanmar is killing democracy for their selfish interests. Hence, UN should even consider deploying peacekeeping mission in the country. We are hopeful that the farsighted leadership of the Prime Minister would assist us in securing strong support from world leaders during this crisis so that Myanmar will fully apologize and repatriate all Rohingya refugees.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Chief Patron, BangabandhuShishu Kishore Mela