By Md. Kamruzzaman
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - China believes the ongoing Rohingya issue can be resolved through regional development and connectivity, the country’s ambassador to Bangladesh said.
“We hope that in the process of implementing the BCIM [Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar] Economic Corridor, we can come up with very good solution to the [Rohingya] problem,” state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency quoted Zhang Zuo as saying on Wednesday.
The BCIM Economic Corridor is a forum of Regional Cooperation founded in 1999. The proposed corridor will cover 1.65 million square kilometers, encompassing an estimated 440 million people in China's Yunnan province, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and West Bengal in eastern India through the combination of road, rail, water and air linkages in the region.
Emphasizing on the connectivity, the ambassador said the repatriation is one part of the overall solution to the Rohingya issue. “We believe that the real solution to the problem lies in development,” he added.
- A persecuted people
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience".
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – and brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.
In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.