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Five years since Rohingya Genocide, military enjoys impunity as crimes across Myanmar go unpunished

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384 CSOs call on the international community to ensure justice for Rohingya

[25 August 2022] Five years on since the Myanmar military committed genocide against the Rohingya, words and promises of holding the military accountable have not turned into meaningful action, said 384 civil society organization in a joint statement issued today. While the UN Security Council and governments have piled on more statements of “grave concern” condemning the military’s fresh atrocity crimes since its attempted coup on 1 February 2021, “Actions must speak louder,” said the groups.

August 25th is “Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day,” marking the day that the Myanmar military began a terror campaign in Rakhine State against the Rohingya, in which they massacred, tortured, raped, burned, and razed villages, forcing three quarters of a million to flee to Bangladesh where they remain today.

In the joint statement, the groups reaffirmed their “commitment to continue to stand in solidarity with and seek justice for the Rohingya, ensure the full restoration of their rights in Myanmar and to end the impunity of the Myanmar military.” “The plight of the Rohingya must not be forgotten,” said the groups.

The groups are calling on the UN Security Council, and the UK as the “penholder” on Myanmar to convene a meeting on the progress of the implementation of the provisional measures, imposed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

On 22 July 2022, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rejected the preliminary objections lodged by the military junta in the case of Rohingya genocide brought forward by The Gambia, paving the way for the court to adjudicate the merits of The Gambia’s case. The groups called on more governments to support The Gambia’s case at the ICJ.

The groups also called on the National Unity Government, as the legitimate government of Myanmar, to swiftly implement provisional measures ordered by the ICJ, including immediately amending the discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law, and repealing the National Verification Process as they pledged a year ago.

Tun Khin of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK said: “Over 600,000 Rohingya inside Myanmar continue to face genocide. They live in apartheid-like conditions, stripped of their fundamental freedoms and systematically denied citizenship under genocidal policies, while around one million Rohingya live in squalid camps in Bangladesh. The architect of genocide is now perpetrating similar crimes across Myanmar – they must be stopped.

“The international community must empower and support Rohingya-led accountability efforts to hold the military to account, including through universal jurisdiction cases to prosecute the military in Argentina. These efforts towards accountability are for all people of Myanmar who are facing similar atrocity crimes by the same perpetrators. International community must support all avenues for justice for the people of Myanmar.”

Wai Wai Nu of Women’s Peace Network said: “Without justice for the Rohingya, peace will remain elusive for Myanmar. The lack of accountability for genocide has allowed the military to enjoy its impunity and has emboldened them to commit atrocity crimes against the wider population in Myanmar.

“By not doing more to hold the military accountable, the world is sending the wrong message to the military, that it can get away with committing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. We will continue to call on governments to take decisive action to hold the military accountable, for victims and survivors of the past and present.”

Khin Ohmar of Progressive Voice said: “To hold the military accountable for crimes against Rohingya is not just for the Rohingya, it is for the people of Myanmar.

“The people of Myanmar have for 18 months bravely resisted the junta’s ongoing violent attempt to seize power, which has failed. The international community must hear the voices of the people and pursue avenues for full justice and accountability, including through a UN Security Council referral of the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or to set up an ad-hoc tribunal.”

Thinzar Shunlei Yi of Sisters 2 Sisters: “We are reaffirming our commitment to seek justice for the Rohingya. World leaders must do the same.

“There are steps that governments can immediately take. US can sanction the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, to target a large resource the military uses to finance its war crimes and crimes against humanity. Governments can impose a global arms embargo against the military, and a ban on jet fuel.”

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See the joint statement by 384 CSOs.

Download PDF in English I Burmese.