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The Hague Conclave on Justice and Accountability for the Rohingya held

  • Published at 07:16 pm October 19th, 2019
File photo: Rohingya refugees stretch their hands to receive aid distributed by local organisations at Balukhali makeshift refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 14, 2017 Reuters

The event was held on October 18 which was organized by the Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), BRAC University

The Hague Conclave on Justice and Accountability for the Rohingya has brought together critical issues for consideration by the international community. 

The event was held on October 18, 2019 in the Hague, Netherlands which was organized by the Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), BRAC University, said a press release.

Having taken note of the abiding generosity and prompt humanitarian response by the Bangladesh government in support of the Rohingyas, the Conclave underscored the importance of the United Nations, relevant member states and regional bodies to each play a role in calling out the impunity of the Myanmar authorities, and finding a long term, viable and acceptable resolution to the Rohingya crisis. 

Speakers pointed out that the actions of Myanmar must be recognized as genocide, and should not be allowed to be termed under vague terminology. The Conclave recognized that genocide does not occur in a vacuum and are often preceded by generations of distrust, the promotion of an ideology of hate, and the indifference of the international body. 

In his keynote remarks, His Excellency Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, Minister of Justice, Republic of The Gambia, stated that when in early 2018 he visited the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, he could smell the stench of genocide from miles away; as it was all too familiar for him after a decade of interacting with the victims of the Rwandan mass rape, killings, and genocide. Other speakers echoed his views that, in order to bring justice and accountability for the Rohingya population, the focus needs to be shifted from individual responsibility to state responsibility. 

The views of the Honorable Bob Rae on progress on the issue of accountability was picked up by other members of the Conclave. Over the past 18 months, quite a lot of progress has taken place but a lot more needs to be done to keep moving the slow wheels of justice, which includes finding effective ways of gathering evidence, and being able to distinguish between information and evidence. 

The heightened value of the report “The Annan Commission, status of implementation and ways to increase pressure on Myanmar” of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, chaired by Kofi Annan, was highlighted. The additional value of the report lies in the fact that it offers insight not only to the Rohingya crisis but also other minority ethnic communities. 

Some Speakers lamented at the delay or even failure of the international community respond in a timely manner to the genocide happening in Myanmar, which may have helped allowing the government to buy time.

However, the voice of consensus in the Conclave has been that the quick, as well as long term, solution to the Rohingya crisis needs to be multifaceted – covering humanitarian, legal, political and diplomatic channels -and throughout this process, the voice and participation of the Rohingyas themselves, must be ensured.

The inaugural session of the International Conclave on Justice and Accountability for Rohingya, which is organized by the Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), BRAC University in the Hague, the Netherlands, in partnership with Asia Justice Coalition and ISS, was moderated by Manzoor Hasan, the Executive Director of CPJ. Professor Syed Mansoob Murshed and Professor Inge Hutter of the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam, Professor Vincent Chang, VC of BRAC University, Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director of Amnesty International also spoke in the inaugural session.