Rohingya genocide goes unpunished five years after their exile in Bangladesh

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Thousands of refugees demonstrate to demand safe return to Burma as Hague criminal court investigation continues

Thousands of Rohingya refugees celebrated Genocide Remembrance Day on Thursday. In 2017, this Muslim minority faced a brutal campaign of repression by the military of Myanmar, formerly Burma, following a series of armed actions by the Rohingya terrorist group ARSA. The military “performed summary executions, mass rapes, the systematic destruction of homes and other atrocities of a severity and scale comparable to genocides that took place in other contexts,” as documented by the UN in 2018.

As a result of the extreme violence, 740,000 people have fled to neighboring Bangladesh, where they live in unsanitary conditions in camps. Five years later, his situation and the chances of his return continue without any sign of improvement. Especially now that the soldiers who carried out what the International Court of Justice in The Hague is investigating as genocide, came to power in February 2021 after a coup d’état. The head of the military junta that currently rules the country, Min Aung Hlaing, led the armed forces during the 2017 crackdown. He considers the identity of the Rohingya “imaginary”.

The complaint to the international judiciary was initiated by The Gambia. The small West African country believes that Burma has violated the UN Convention to Prevent and Combat Genocide. Among the crimes committed were “the murder of members of the Rohingya community” and the “deliberate subjugation of the community to living conditions involving their total or partial physical destruction”.

As the investigation into The Hague continues, thousands of refugees in Bangladesh demonstrated on Thursday with signs, banners and slogans demanding a safe return to their Rakhine region in western Burma. “All we want is a dignified return to our country,” Sayed Ullah, one of the community leaders in the camps, told Reuters.

The conditions there are extreme. According to Doctors Without Borders, access to specialized medical care is “extremely limited”. The rates of diarrhea and skin infections are high. “Several generations could be affected if we do not live up to our obligation to protect the Rohingya, their fundamental rights and dignity,” said Noeleen Heyzer, UN Space Envoy to Burma.

The situation is no easier for those who decided not to flee from the horror. About 600,000 Rohingya remained in Burma, where they are considered foreigners and have limited rights, such as access to health care or education. They also cannot move freely. A treatment that the NGO Humans Right Watch compares to “apartheid”.

Source: La Verdad

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