2012-06-13

Seriously, Bangladesh?

The Financial Express, a Bangladeshi online newspaper reports that the government of Bangladesh will no longer accept Rohingya refugees fleeing from violence in Burma:
"Our stand is clear; no more Myanmar refugees will be allowed to enter the country at the moment, as we are already hosting tens of thousands of Rohingyas who had entered Bangladesh over the past decades," said earlier a senior official of the ministry of foreign affairs (MoFA).

Some 10 boats with some 500 Rohingyas, including women, children and elderly people, some of whom also injured, were seen floating on the Naf river along Teknaf border town on Tuesday, according to witnesses.
So, over the span of multiple decades, a persecuted minority has fled to Bangladesh, and for that reason, those currently attempting to save their own lives (just ten boatloads of them, containing the equivalent of a third of the number of students at my former high school) are not to be allowed in the country.

I am sensitive to the limited amount of space in the already-over-populated Bangladesh, but to turn away refugees of war is utterly incomprehensible to me. These people aren't seeking anything more than the ability to cross an imaginary line separating them from people who are no more different from them than their own countrymen are.

This seems particularly unconscionable, considering Bangladesh's own history of refugees during the Liberation War and prior (among which we may count economic Nobel laureate Amartya Sen one of the many great world citizens who were there).

I cannot help but wonder, what on Earth are they thinking?