It is Singapore that can make Myanmar aware of the repatriation of the Rohingyas. Singapore can be an ideal mediator in resolving the Rohingya refugee crisis, as Singapore has very good relations with Myanmar and Bangladesh. However, Bangladesh has urged Singapore from time to time to ask Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis quickly as it is a big problem and a burden for Bangladesh. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh also made the call during his meeting with the President of Singapore Halimah Yacob and the official meeting with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong in Istana in March 2018. Bangladesh FM met with officials, including the consul of Singapore to Bangladesh and requested Singapore’s assistance in this regard in 2019 (United News of Bangladesh)
According to Strait Times, the Singaporean The Foreign Ministry called for calm and restraint by all parties in Rakhine State, pledging to support efforts by ASEAN use existing mechanisms to provide humanitarian assistance to affected people in Rakhine State in accordance with the principles of ASEAN Charter. Singaporean Home Secretary Amrin Amin announced on October 19, 2017 that his country would commit $$100,000 via the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Center (AHA) to support humanitarian efforts in Rakhine State. But Bangladesh needs a permanent peaceful repatriation of Rohingya to Rakhine at this time as the country faces serious challenges for the Rohingya refugee crisis.
However, it is a big problem for the whole of Southeast Asia and South Asia. It is a burden on Bangladesh that must be resolved. As Singapore is an active member of ASEAN, Singapore can sue the Myanmar government that the stability and development of this region depends on the repatriation of the Rohingya. Singapore maintains very good bilateral trade and defense relations with Myanmar. WE believe that Singapore could easily solve the problem to secure the best interests of Singapore and Southeast Asia.
For decades Myanmar has suffered extreme cruelty to the Rohingya. Never cared about the law. The Rohingya problem is not new to Bangladesh. This problem, which began in 1978, became apparent in August 2017. More than a million Rohingya fled to Bangladesh for their lives when the Burmese army launched a brutal operation against the Rohingya ethnicity. Bangladesh calls for the intervention of the United States, the European Union and the United Nations as well as the ASEAN regional alliance for a lasting and acceptable solution to the Rohingya problem.
Today, Bangladesh is facing serious problems for this man-made crisis committed by Myanmar. Some socio-economic threats are increasing in Bangladesh. Bangladesh hosted Rohingya for humanitarian reasons. But because of this humanity, the country is now in danger. As a result, there is a danger that the Rohingya will spread across the country, there are also many challenges.
The forest is uprooted, they cut the mountains and destroy them. There are also long-term economic risks. Socio-economic and political problems may also be evident, and security risks may increase. The illegal drug trade, human trafficking, prostitution, terrorism in the Rohingya camps are increasing in the camps.
Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an agreement to repatriate the Rohingya to Myanmar within two years in 2017 and 2019 respectively. Myanmar’s authority did not take back the Rohingya as per the agreement. It is true that they do not want to repatriate the Rohingyas to Myanmar. Bangladesh has raised the issue in all international fora. Many countries have supported Bangladesh. But Myanmar does not respect international law and standards. Some powerful powers can be behind the scenes.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh raised the issue at the UNGA on September 25, 2021 to draw attention to the resolution of the Rohingya crisis. She particularly focused on the engagement of ASEAN leaders. It is ASEAN, including Singapore as an active member of ASEAN, that can easily solve the Rohingya refugee problem.
As an active member of ASEAN, Singapore can easily solve it. Singapore can act as a mediator in this regard. Singapore maintains very warm relations with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Various countries and international organizations have taken various measures to resolve the Rohingya problem. Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon criticized the Burmese authorities for their lax repatriation of displaced Rohingyas. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed deep concern over the current Rohingya crisis. Yang Lee, the UN special envoy for human rights in Myanmar, said all major countries in the world have a responsibility to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
In this regard, Singapore can and must play a very important role in resolving the crisis in these ways:
- Singapore can support Bangladesh at every international forum such as UNGA, regional conference. They can vote for Bangladesh. They can raise the issue in the ASEAN platform.
- Singapore can negotiate with Myanmar diplomatically and bilaterally. It has good bilateral relations with Myanmar)
- Singapore can engage with other ASEAN states to resolve the crisis.
- Singapore Buddhist society can play an effective role in this regard.
- Singapore businessmen can engage to some extent. Because stability in the region is very necessary for investment.
Why should Singapore step in to solve the problem?
- This question is a humanitarian question. The Rohingya are the sons of Land in Rakhine, Myanmar. They have the right to reside in Myanmar.
- It is a question of Justice. According to Luther King Junior, Nelson Mandela “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The Burmese authorities have committed genocide. Authors should be brought under international jurisdiction.
- This is the question of the region. The whole of South Asia and Southeast Asia can be volatile for this problem. As a Southeast Asian state, Singapore has certain responsibilities.
- Singapore maintains good relations with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
- Strengthening bilateral relations could contribute to the growth of trade and investment relations with ASEAN and SAARC countries. This will create an opportunity to serve a greater regional interest.
- Restoring connectivity between the Himalayas and South Asia can happen if political and diplomatic solutions to the strained relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar can be found.
- Singapore’s two-way trade with Bangladesh has grown alongside an increase in foreign direct investment, which amounted to S $ 1.9 billion in sectors such as energy and consumer goods manufacturing. (June 25, 2021, The Business Times of Singapore)
- Next year, Singapore will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations with Bangladesh. The country is also Singapore’s second-largest trading partner in South Asia, with total bilateral trade of S $ 4.5 billion in 2019 (June 25, 2021, The Business Times of Singapore)
Singapore can play a very important role in this regard. Singapore can act as a mediator to strengthen the strained relations between Bangladesh and Myanmar. Singapore can play to repatriate the Rohingya from Rakhine to Myanmar. Singapore can easily solve the problem because it has a very good relationship with Myanmar.
However, as a friend and benevolent partner in the process of development and trade, Bangladesh can expect cooperation and support from Singapore regarding the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. Bangladesh deserves it. Thus, Singapore should help, support Bangladesh and mediate to resolve the crisis as quickly as possible.