Three visiting Nobel laureates on Wednesday called for an immediate end to the ongoing genocide against the Rohingya people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The Nobel laureates – Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, Shirin Ebadi of Iran, and Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland – made the demand at a press conference at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon in Dhaka after wrapping up their visit to Bangladesh on the six-month anniversary of the ongoing Rohingya crisis.
“We can’t remain silent. If we remain silent, we’re indeed complacent with the cruelties and crimes,” Maguire said.
She said they hold Myanmar and the country’s military responsible for committing genocide.
They called on their fellow laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the Myanmar military to put an end to the killings and persecution of Rohingya people. “She [Suu Kyi] must stop turning a deaf ear to the persecution of the Rohingya or risk being complicit in the crimes. Wake up or face prosecution,” said Karman.
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They sought assistance to take the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Shirin Ebadi said: “What is happening to the Rohingya Muslims is a crime of genocide, and all those who are involved in this crime must be brought to the International Criminal Court. We need more international assistance.
Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 in recognition of her work in nonviolent struggle for women’s safety and right to fully participate in peace building in Yemen.
Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman said: “I encourage women to be strong. I want every woman to find strength and have her voice be heard.”
Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts to promote human rights in Iran. Shirin is the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She was one of the first women judges in Iran and the first Iranian woman to be made a chief justice.
Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi said: “They see the niqab as an Islamic tradition but it is not. When a woman goes to perform the Hajj, she has to uncover her face. Then why force women to cover her entire face when it is not mandatory?”
Mairead Maguire was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 with Betty Williams for her actions to end the political conflict in Northern Ireland.
“How do we deal with ethnic conflict? Because the reality is if people put so much into their identities and if that identity is challenged, then people become murderous. That’s why we really have to learn nonviolence.When you have a majority that does not allow the voice of the minority you cannot have an active democracy. So when you challenge them and ask for basic human rights for the minority community, this threatens the majority community.”
“There are many wealthy Muslim countries around the world, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Qatar. But why are they not coming to the aid of their fellow Muslims?
“There is no doubt that if the Muslims around the world stand beside by the persecuted Rohingya people, this crisis will be resolved very soon.
“Time has come to break [the] silence. We need help to make sure our voices are heard,” said Shirin Ebadi.
What the Nobel laureates said
1. There must be an immediate end to genocide against the Rohingya, and an order to the Myanmar military to immediately stop all acts of sexual violence
2. The perpetrators must be brought to justice through the International Criminal Court (ICC)
3. Bangladesh, as the only country in South Asia that ratified the Rome Statute, should along with other parties, the UN Security Council, and the Human Rights Council, refer the case to the ICC
4. Alternatively, the ICC prosecution should launch an independent investigation into crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrators in Rakhine state
5. A voluntary, safe and dignified return should be ensured. There should be no forced repatriation. When the Rohingya people return to Rakhine state, they should be offered security and be granted full citizenship
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6. The Myanmar government should take immediate action to address the systemic discrimination against Rohingya people in Rakhine, and ensure their right to nationality, land ownership, freedom of movement and other fundamental rights
7. A comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar should be imposed to ensure that there are no sales of weapons or other military equipment
8. The international community should provide more support to Bangladesh and assist the country in its response to the humanitarian catastrophe
9. Bangladesh should ratify the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention in an effort to give protection to refugees and set an example in South Asia
Nobel laureates meet with PM Hasina
Earlier in the day, the visiting Nobel Peace Prize winners paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the latter’s official residence Ganabhaban, reports BSS.
They thanked the Bangladesh government and the country’s people for standing beside the forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens, the prime minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim told reporters.
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The three visiting Nobel Peace laureates meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the latter’s official residence Ganabhaban in Dhaka on Wednesday | Focus Bangla
The laureates said in the past, they had sent multiple letters to Suu Kyi, but she never replied.
They said they would visit Myanmar soon and hold meetings with Suu Kyi over the crisis.