By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
Concrete efforts and not cosmetic measures are required to end the plight of the Rohingya Muslims, whether the refugees who have sought temporary asylum abroad, such as the million-odd languishing in camps in Bangladesh, or those still living in their once-flourishing homeland – under persecution, torture, and periodic bouts of genocide.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who toured refugee camps in Bangladesh on Tuesday and met groups of Rohingyas, should realize the gravity of the situation of these displaced people, deprived of normal life, including education for children.
It is rather a belated visit to the Rohingya refugee camps by Michelle Bachelet, a former Chilean president who has been UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since 2018.
Nevertheless it is a welcome visit, in view of the bright record of Ms Bachelet, both during her two 4-year terms as president of Chile that saw promotion of literacy amongst hundreds of thousands of poor families through distribution of “free briefcases” (books including encyclopedias, dictionaries, poetry works and books) and her castigation of Saudi Arabia for its war crimes in Yemen, as well as her criticism of Israel for the recent killing of journalist Shirin Abu Aqeleh.
She had said: “Chronically high levels of killings and injuries of Palestinians, including children by Israeli forces in the occupied Palestinian territory, have continued.”
These documented words of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights are indeed soothing for the Rohingya refugees who have not seen anything of note done by the World Body or the so-called advocates of democracy.
Bachelet, during her 4-day visit, has met Bangladesh’s foreign, home, law, and education ministers, and also Shamsud Douza, the host country’s deputy refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, as well as human rights activists and NGOs, who briefed her about the situation in Bangladesh.
While appreciating Bangladesh’s humanitarian gesture towards the Rohingyas, Bachelet – a physician by profession and a committed socialist – underscored the need for the education of refuges through the learning centres in the camps, as well as proper sanitary measures.
This is indeed a positive development for the Rohingya refugees who are in sore need of education for children and young adults, in addition to adequate health and hygienic amenities.
If Bachelet, who is to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before wrapping up her visit, could implement education and health programmes for the refugees in coordination with the government of Bangladesh, she would have done a great job.
It is the duty of the UN to highlight the atrocities of the Myanmar regime, while taking concrete steps to repatriate the Rohingyas to their homeland with guarantee that their birthright will never again be violated.
Hopefully, Bachelet will succeed in view of her record as president of Chile in opening in Santiago the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, documenting the horrors of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 16-and-a-half-year US-backed dictatorship, and her making the Chilean army chief, General Juan Emilio Cheyre, to sign the “Never Again Declaration” in 2003 that the military will never subvert democracy in Chile.