The Rohingya refugee crisis has created a complex situation because of its multidimensional impact. The crisis has rendered an entire ethnic group of people stateless who escaped inhuman oppression in their homeland and now reside in their neighboring country Bangladesh surrounded by uncertainty and fear. The crisis is also having an adverse impact on almost every sector of the host country.
Over a million Rohingyas are currently living in the world’s largest refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar which is close to the Myanmar border. The international assistance from different organizations has put an end to the instant humanitarian emergency but could not do much about the long-lasting impact on the host community and the ultimate future of the Rohingyas. The crisis is posing security threats and challenges to Bangladesh including human security also known as non-traditional security, transnational security, internal security, militancy, terrorism, and border security.
The state of human security of the host community living near the camps has become very fragile. The overall economic situation of Bangladesh is not very pleasant and especially in Ukhiya Upazila where the majority of the Rohingyas reside, most local people are associated with agriculture and day labor as the means of their livelihoods. Their survival is now challenged because of this refugee crisis. The country has to rely on agriculture for food consumption and is likely to face a food crisis soon as a huge number of Rohingyas rely on the hosts for their foods and basic needs. The crisis has also contributed to a major price hike in the local markets. Many of the already arrived Rohingyas are infected with various diseases including TB, HIV, and many more. These diseases put health and safety in great danger. There is also a risk of community transmission among the locals as the Rohingyas continue to move from one place to another for work.
The Rohingya crisis has serious transnational security implications by increasing the risk of drugs and small arms smuggling. We know the geographical proximity of the golden triangle and golden crescent makes Bangladesh a feasible route for drug smuggling. There are already several reports of international gangs using Rohingyas as the carriers of drugs. The scenario is the same for human trafficking in and around the camps. The situation has triggered interests for many militant and terrorist groups who are looking for their possible recruitments among the Rohingyas. There is also a sharp increase in other criminal activities inside the camps. There have been some incidents of Rohingyas violently attacking the locals which have spread fear among the host community. Many criminal groups are also trying to exploit the Rohingyas for their own benefit.
The crisis is getting prolonged and with that, it is also making the border of Bangladesh unstable and exposed to threats. The presence of a large number of Rohingyas among the locals and cultural differences between them has resulted in mutual distrust and enmity. This has affected social cohesion and peace in the whole area. The Rohingya crisis which has been going on for more than three years has put an enormous amount of stress on the host country. Some non-state actors and stakeholders will continue to exploit the security situation of Bangladesh if this goes on. The country needs to find out a suitable solution before the situation deteriorates any further.