Experts on Thursday said in a special online seminar there are possibilities for reconciliation between the two largest co-habiting ethnic communities of Rakhine – Rakhine and Rohingya.
They also opined that reconciliation is a must before repatriation of Rohingyas in Myanmar.
The seminar titled "What Future for Rakhine?: End Games for the Arakanese (Rakhine, Rohingyas and Other Co-habitants)" was jointly organised by Free Rohingya Coalition, Forces of Renewal Southeast Asia and SOAS School of Interdisciplinary Studies.
Through the prism of Myanmar's internal colonialism and the triangular ethnic politics among Rakhine, Rohingya and Myanmar, the seminar discussed the ongoing and core issues of Rakhine's revived armed revolt against Myanmar's colonisation of the formerly independent Kingdom of Arakan/Rakhine and the ongoing persecution of Rohingya.
Dr C R Abrar, executive director of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, said, "The solution of the Rohingya crisis depends on the repatriation to Arakan with dignity and rights. However, reconciliation between Rakhine and Rohingyas is essential before the repatriation. Bangladesh should create pressure on the global community for reconciliation."
"The policymakers of Bangladesh need to think out of the box. They have tried best to be a good neighbour of Myanmar but Myanmar did not act friendly. So, the time has come to be a good neighbour of Arakanese people," he added.
The discussions also addressed the status of the genocide of Rohingyas, the limitations of international law and accountability mechanisms (such as ICJ and ICC), and the roles and policies of the most affected neighbouring state of Bangladesh.
Sharifah Shakirah, founder and director of Rohingya Women Development Network, "The genocide on Rohingyas was the part of a systematic plan to expel Rohingyas from their land."
Nay San Lwin, the co-founder of the Free Rohingya Coalition, said, "Arakan belongs to all but Myanmar displaced thousands of Rohingyas from Arakan. Now the country is playing a role against repatriation."
Among others, Dr Katherine Southwick, atrocity prevention expert, and Aung Thein Twan, an Arakanese Rakhine policy analyst spoke in the programme.
Michael W Charney, Professor of international security studies and Asian history, University of London, chaired the session.