Myanmar Election 2020: Impacts on Rohingya Crisis

Date: November 10, 2020

Myanmar’s election in 2020 was important for Bangladesh because Myanmar is one of Bangladesh’s two closest neighbors and the burden of the Rohingya crisis carried by Bangladesh needs to come to an end.  Besides, Myanmar is playing a vital role in the development of the emerging superpowers in Asia, namely China, Japan, Korea, and India, in terms of trade and commerce. On the one hand, the world has witnessed the violation of human rights committed by Myanmar. On the other, Asia, with China in lead, is becoming stronger with the expansion of its networks of highways and businesses in which Myanmar has a significant role to play. 

Against this backdrop, the Center for Peace Studies (CPS), SIPG, North South University organized a webinar, “Myanmar Election 2020: Impacts on Rohingya Crisis” through Zoom on 10th November, 2020. The webinar was intended to explore whether and how the upcoming general election results will affect the Rohingya crisis. It particularly sought answers to the following questions: Why, despite the verdict of the ICJ, have the political parties in Myanmar not addressed the Rohingya crisis in their election manifestos and campaigns? How does Bangladesh evaluate the Myanmar Election 2020? What would be the regional implications of the election result? How are China and other regional powers expected to react to the election results? How does the Rohingya community purview the election 2020? In what ways are the Rohingya optimistic about the new Myanmar government, if at all? The webinar invited academic scholars, practitioners, and Rohingya diaspora representatives from home and abroad.

The Webinar began with the welcome speech of Dr. Ishrat Zakia Sultana, Coordinator of CPS, SIPG. The panelists were Professor Nehginpao Kipgen, O. P. Jindal Global University, India, Brig Gen Sakhawat Hussain, Senior Fellow, SIPG, NSU, Dr. A. S. M. Ali Ashraf, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations, the University of Dhaka, Dr. M Jashim Uddin, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Sociology, and member of CPS, North South University, Dr. Kawser Ahmed, Executive Director, Conflict and Resilience Research Institute, Canada, and Jaivet Ealom, Representative of Rohingya diaspora, Ontario, Canada.

SIPG’s Senior Fellow and former Ambassador, Shahidul Haque moderated the discussion. Professor Atiqul Islam, Vice-Chancellor of NSU and the Chair of the webinar concluded the discussion with his valuable concluding speech.

The panelists indicated that the chances for the repatriation of the Rohingya are very slim because the election did not bring much changes to Myanmar.