It has been four years since the clash that triggered the evacuation of more than 700,000 Rohingya, a minority of Muslims in Myanmar, to neighboring Bangladesh.
Due to the coup d'etat in Myanmar, the return of Rohingya people has become even more difficult.
In Rakhine State, western Myanmar, four years ago in August, Rohingya militants attacked police and military facilities one after another, and the army embarked on a large-scale mopping operation, with more than 700,000 Rohingya people. He fled to neighboring Bangladesh and is still forced to live in a refugee camp.
The return of Rohingya people has not progressed so far because of unsafety in Myanmar, and a coup d'etat by the Myanmar military in February is a further factor blocking the return.
The military crackdown has killed more than 1,000 civilians so far, and repeated battles with the army against armed civilians and ethnic minorities around the world have led the Rohingya people to say, "The army that persecuted the Rohingya. I can't go back if I'm in control. "
On the other hand, in refugee camps in Bangladesh, the spread of the new coronavirus is serious because many people have lost their lives and people are living densely due to a series of large-scale fires and floods. It is a threat.
As the evacuation life becomes more severe, the turmoil in Myanmar after the coup d'etat and the deterioration of public security have not stopped, and the return of Rohingya people is becoming more difficult.
Positive attitude towards the return of the Myanmar Rohingya
The Myanmar army, which came to power in the February coup, has shown a positive attitude towards the return of Rohingya people evacuating to Bangladesh.
Four years ago, a large-scale evacuation of Rohingya people was triggered by a military sweeping operation, and there is concern that leaving Rohingya refugees unattended would further worsen the international community's impression of the military. It seems that.
A representative of the Myanmar Army said at a related meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations held in early August that "Bangladesh's cooperation is essential for a successful return," and called on the international community to reach out to the Bangladesh government. rice field.
On the Myanmar side, by developing the claim that the reason why refugees are not returning is the Bangladesh side, it seems that they want to avoid pursuing responsibility only for themselves.
Difficult to respond to Bangladesh government
The Government of Bangladesh has repeatedly urged the Government of Myanmar to ensure the safety of its return destinations for the early return of Rohingya refugees.
As Rohingya refugees have been evacuated for a long time, the financial burden on the Bangladeshi side has increased, and conflicts with local residents around refugee camps have become a problem.
In addition, while the return is not progressing, some Rohingya refugees are refused landing or died in distress when trying to cross from the refugee camp to neighboring countries with the help of smugglers. I'm out.
According to UNHCR = United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 209 people died or went missing on their way abroad in the last year, the highest number since 2017, when a large number of refugees occurred. about it.
The Bangladesh government has cooperated with the ASEAN-Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the international community toward the early realization of the return of Rohingya refugees, saying that "prolonged problems will have a serious impact on the politics and society of the entire Asian region." I am seeking.
A refugee man told NHK, "I want to go back to Myanmar, but we can't go back under the current military rule because we were suppressed by the army. We can go back if Myanmar becomes democratic." At present, he complained that he was not safe after returning to Myanmar.
Refugee camps become more severe due to heavy rain and coronavirus
At the refugee camp in Cox's Bazar in southern Bangladesh, the lives of Rohingya people are becoming more difficult due to disasters and the new coronavirus, as well as prolonged evacuation life.
Approximately 900,000 Rohingya refugees live in simple bamboo and sheet dwellings built on the slopes of the camp four years ago, centered on those who evacuated all at once.
In March, a large fire broke out in the camp, killing at least 15 people, injuring hundreds, burning about 10,000 homes and creating a place for 45,000 people. I lost it.
In July, heavy rains caused floods and landslides, killing eight people, leaving 25,000 people out of their homes, and damaging medical facilities.
The new coronavirus is adding to this situation.
In Bangladesh, the infection is spreading, with the number of infected people per day reaching about 15,000 in early August due to the influence of the highly infectious "Delta strain".
So far, 2,677 Rohingya refugees have been confirmed to be infected, 29 have died, the population is densely populated and the hygiene environment is poor, and the spread of the infection in the camp poses a serious threat.
The Bangladeshi government has collaborated with UN agencies earlier this month to begin vaccination of approximately 50,000 Rohingya refugees over the age of 55, but it is expected that it will take some time before it becomes widespread among refugees. increase.
A Rohingya woman told NHK that "the infection is widespread, so I'm afraid that if I can't get the vaccine, I'll get infected. I want to get the vaccine sooner."
Expert "The international community monitors"
Rohingya people who feared persecution have been evacuating from Myanmar to Bangladesh repeatedly before 2017.
Naonori Kusakabe, an associate professor of the College of Intercultural Communication at Rikkyo University, who studies Rohingya issues, said that during the military junta in the 1970s and 1990s, when many Rohingya people fled to Bangladesh. On the contrary, he pointed out that he had been forcibly repatriated to Myanmar and warned that "a forcible repatriation may be carried out when the attention and interest of the international community diminishes."
On top of that, "The international community is putting pressure on both Bangladesh and Myanmar to prevent a forcible repatriation without the consent of the Rohingya people, and we are watching. It is important to send. "
In addition, as the Rohingya people's refugee life in a poor environment has been prolonged and there is no prospect of returning safely, they have no choice but to consider other methods than returning to Myanmar. It's not just a matter of imposing on only two countries, Bangladesh and Myanmar. We need to seriously discuss whether to settle in a third country, Western countries, and whether Japan will accept Rohingya refugees. " ..Keywords: