The country is working ‘extremely hard with international lawyers,’ Cherno Marenah of Gambia’s Ministry of Justice says
The Gambia will submit the first memorandum in the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Rohingya issue in October, Cherno Marenah, solicitor general and legal secretary at the Gambia's Ministry of Justice, has said.
"We are working extremely hard along with international lawyers," he said, adding that the Gambia always takes the lead when it comes to humanitarian crises, and they are especially active in the African continent.
Marenah made the remarks while addressing a two-day international e-conference on connecting Rohingya diaspora, which ended on Wednesday night.
The conference was organized marking the third anniversary of the massive influx of Rohingyas into Bangladesh. ActionAid Bangladesh organized the event in association with the Centre for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University and the Centre for Peace and Justice of Brac University.
The conference urged the international community to come forward to ensure justice and accountability for the safe, dignified and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingya people to their home in Rakhine, Myanmar.
The e-conference was attended by experts, researchers, academicians, human rights activists and humanitarian workers working on the Rohingya diaspora from 12 countries, including Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Participating states were encouraged to support the steps taken by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the ICJ to ensure justice and accountability for the Rohingyas.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen attended the e-conference as the chief guest, and Cherno Marenah as the guest of honour.
Speaking at the event, the foreign secretary expressed concerns over the possibility of conflict if the crisis prolongs.
Despite Bangladesh's willingness to achieve peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya refugees, Myanmar's reluctance is proving to be a major obstacle, he added.
He urged the international community to put pressure on Myanmar to achieve peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya refugees.
The introductory speech was given by Manzoor Hasan OBE, executive director of the Centre for Peace and Justice.
The overall perspective of the conference was presented by Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, professor of international relations at Dhaka University and director of the Centre for Genocide Studies.
He said the Rohingya issue is no longer a bilateral issue between Bangladesh and Myanmar; it has become an international issue.
“There has been a systematic genocide going on in Myanmar for decades. Even though previously the genocide had not gotten proper coverage, the 2017 events have brought it into the limelight,” he added.
Prof Imtiaz urged the International community to unite to achieve the peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya refugees and reformation of the constitution of Myanmar to ensure the rights of the Rohingya people as Myanmar citizens.
Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said: “We don't want the miserable situation of the Rohingyas to prolong. We all know that there was a massive influx of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh in 2017. The Rohingya diaspora themselves can play a crucial role in bringing about a change.”
This situation can be resolved by uniting the Rohingya diaspora around the world, she added.
Divided into four panels, the conference was attended by esteemed panelists, including Azeem Ibrahim, director of the Center for Global Policy in Washington, DC; KAM Morshed, senior director of Brac; Nickey Diamond, a human rights specialist at Fortify Rights; and Dr Wakar Uddin, director general of the Arakan Rohingya Union of North America and chairman and founder of the Burmese Rohingya Association.
“It is not easy for the Rohingya diaspora to go back to their country. Their repatriation is a very complex process. They have been subject to abuse for more than half a century. The Rohingya diaspora have to unite with other minority communities to resolve this issue,” Azeem Ibrahim said.
Dr Wakar Uddin said to change Myanmar's attitude towards the Rohingyas, everyone must come forward, speak in unison and apply pressure at the same time.
On the concluding day of the conference, representatives, teachers and researchers from the Rohingya diaspora in Bangladesh, India, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Malaysia presented their presentations and papers.