Oral Statement Delivered by Ahmed Adam
On behalf of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Madam President, FORUM-ASIA welcomes the High Commissioner’s update on the situation of Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar.
Close to a million Rohingyas continue to languish in overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh with no hope of return. The Myanmar government has shown no willingness to guarantee conditions for their safe, sustainable and dignified return, including their right to citizenship and basic human rights, as well as equal access to essential services. The government continues to shield perpetrators of genocide against Rohingya from justice and accountability.
In defiance of the calls by the Council and the provisional order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to protect the Rohingya, the government continues to systematically disenfranchise and drive out the remaining Rohingya from Myanmar. The ongoing armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army which has displaced over 160,000 people in Rakhine and Chin States since 2018 threatens the safety of the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities. The recent announcement of a ‘clearance operation’ by the Myanmar military in Rakhine State evokes fears of the 2017 clearance operation against Rohingya that drove out nearly 900,000 refugees to Bangladesh. The announcement has led many remaining Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in Rakhine State to flee their homes.
The absence of an inclusive response to the COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated discrimination, hate speech and violent rhetoric against Rohingya and other minorities, making them more vulnerable to the pandemic. The continued internet shutdown in Rakhine and Chin States has impeded the access to information about the pandemic further endangering the lives of civilians living in conflict zones.
Violations and their root causes, including impunity, will persist unless structural issues are addressed and the international community pursues criminal accountability. We call on the Security Council to refer Myanmar to the ICC or to establish an ad hoc tribunal. Finally, ethnic minorities need to be included in decisions that affect them. This includes allowing all ethnic minorities, including Rohingya refugees and IDPs, to take part in this year’s elections.