Tue, 12/10/2019 - 14:36
Rohingya demand justice as Myanmar faces genocide charge
ANKARA Several Rohingya rights groups on Tuesday intensified their campaign seeking justice as International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to hear a genocide charge against Myanmar. The community termed the genocide lawsuit filed by Gambia against Myanmar as "historic achievement". "It is first step into justice," said Hla Kyaw, head of the European Rohingya Council. The hearing upon a case filed by Gambia on behalf of Organization of Islamic Cooperation is ongoing at the court in The Hague, Netherlands and will continue for three days. Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is in the Netherlands to defend "the interests of the country" despite being widely criticized for supporting the Myanmar military's ethnic cleansing and crimes against the Rohingya. Myanmar is accused of violating its obligations under the Genocide Convention in its so-called "clearance military operations" against the Rohingya. 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, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million. "We have been suffering for decades. It is the time for international community to hear Rohingya’s call for justice and rights," Kyaw added. In a statement, Burma Human Rights Network Executive Director Kyaw Win said that there was "overwhelming evidence" of genocide committed by the Burmese military against the Rohingya population. "The court will have to ensure that justice can be delivered to the victims despite significant political hurdles," he noted. But he expressed pessimism that the case may go through the UN Security Council where China and Russia have veto power and "may act preemptively to protect Burma [Myanmar]". Win added: "Nations must ensure they put humanity before their political entanglements. Veto power comes with great moral responsibility and the misuse of it to protect one’s political interest would be a devastating blow to the morality and credibility of the international community if it allowed the perpetrators of genocide in Burma to escape any consequences." The Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO) also welcomed the lawsuit demanding that the perpetrators should be given the exemplary punishment at the international court. "We hope that ICJ will deliver the verdict that will reflect the hope of hundreds of thousands of persecuted Rohingya people," RSO president Mohammed Ayyub Khan told Anadolu Agency. Persecuted people 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 OIDA 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.