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Rohingya crisis: Survivors urge UNSC to take concrete action

  • Published at 01:49 pm August 29th, 2018
File photo: More than 700,000 Rohingyas were forced to flee to Bangladesh from Rakhine state after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown in late August last year Reuters

They add that evidence of genocide and ethnic cleansing are irrefutable

Rohingya refugees, survivors, and human rights advocates have urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to increase pressure on Myanmar—and ensure the accountability of those responsible for genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The call came in light of a landmark report published by the UN Human Rights Council’s Independent Fact-Finding Mission on August 26.

Khin Maung, a young Rohingya community organizer and former teacher who presently lives in Kutupalong camp of Cox’s Bazar, urged the Council to act decisively to deliver justice for victims—and lay the foundation for the safe, voluntary, and dignified return home for the survivors.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Maung said: “The evidence is now overwhelming and irrefutable.” Myanmar’s Security Forces engaged in a calculated campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and they must be held responsible for these crimes if the conditions for a safe return home are fulfilled. 

“The Security Council has tried diplomacy, but it is clear that the Burmese government is doing nothing to change its ways. Now, the council must apply real, credible, and sustained pressure on Myanmar.”

Mayyu Ali, a Rohingya refugee and humanitarian living at the Kutupalong camp, also called on the Security Council to implement the recommendations of the UN’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) and ensure that those responsible for genocide do not evade trial. 

“The findings of the Fact-Finding Mission clarified that the gravest crimes were perpetrated by Myanmar Security Forces, including acts of genocide, sexual assault, and ethnic cleansing,” Mayyu Ali told the correspondent. 

He continued: “Those responsible for masterminding war crimes against civilians are acting with total impunity till this very day. If the Security Council continues to fail in its responsibilities towards the Rohingya, it will only allow these crimes to continue further. 

“Justice must be ensured with urgency, including through a referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and an independent, impartial mechanism to collect and process evidence. We, the Rohingya people, are waiting for the Security Council to act.” 

In a letter delivered to the UNSC, Rohingya community leader Mohibullah, representing the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights, reiterated those sentiments—and called on the Security Council to establish key benchmarks by which to ensure that the Burmese government improves the situation on the ground.

In the letter, Mohibullah wrote: “Meeting these benchmarks will help build our confidence in the process and create the conditions in which we can return to our homeland.

“However, failing to meet these benchmarks, and failing to achieve tangible progress on the ground (which UN agencies have themselves called for) should incite a serious, targeted response from Member States.”

“When it comes to Burma, the Security Council can no longer afford to engage in business as usual,” read the letter.