The Rohingya Right of Reply #RohingyaReply

Yesterday, December 11th, the Human Rights team at GHRD attended a powerful event organised by No Peace Without Justice, which provided the opportunity for members of the Rohingya community to reply to the proceedings of the case ongoing at the International Court of Justice.

This event involved five representatives of the Rohingya community, alongside several key speakers including the Canadian Special Envoy to Myanmar and the Secretary of the Ministry of Bangladesh.

Five representatives of the Rohingya community spoke to a packed room at the Nutshuis on Wednesday 11th December 2019

Yasmin Ullah, one of the members of the panel, voiced her opinion on the proceedings and Aung San Suu Kyi;

“It is painful to watch a leader, who we looked up to for so long, who we thought would bring democracy and human rights for all, to defend the perpetrators of genocide.”

The members of the Rohingya community voiced their outrage at what they perceive as the “whitewashing of genocide” and were disappointed that crimes of gender and sexual based violence have been left out of the case.

“The avoidance of sexual violence in the case is an insult to all Rohingya women and all the women in the world.”

This was a significant event, giving voice to the victims which can so regularly be forgotten within the justice system. GHRD stands alongside these victims and calls on all States to protect the rights all people but crucially those of the most vulnerable in society. The dignity and identity of all minority groups must be respected and the culture of impunity must be dismantled in order to achieve justice for all. All people must be free to exercise their religion, culture and heritage, endowed with the very respect that makes us all humans.

“This is an issue of common humanity; this is an issue that makes us human beings.”

Background of the Rohingya Genocide Case

The Rohingya are a minority group in Myanmar who have faced a long history of severe discrimination and persecution, violence, denial of citizenship, and numerous restrictions at the hands of Myanmar’s authorities.

Since August 2017, an estimated 700,000 Rohingya have fled from Burma to Bangladesh where they now live in overcrowded camps.

Myanmar continuously denies any wrongdoing and in September 2018, the United Nations Human Rights Council mandated the creation of an independent investigative mechanism to collect, preserve and analyse evidence of atrocity crimes in the region.

On 11th November 2019, the Gambia filed a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice alleging their failure to uphold their obligations under the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in relation to crimes committed against the Rohingya.

The case is currently in the provisional measures[1] stage before the International Court of Justice.

GHRD will continue to follow the case closely.

[1] Provisional Measures is an order that protects the object of the litigation and accordingly protects the integrity of the decision on the merits; they are usually applied to prevent a party from taking any further action which may create more harm or aggravate the dispute.

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