A UK-based Rohingya rights defender, the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK), in a new report claimed “the genocide against Rohingya shows no sign of abating in Myanmar” despite the order of the UN’s highest court to the Myanmar authorities for protecting the minority community.
“Since the start of 2021, at least 15 Rohingya — including nine infants and young children — have died as a direct result of onerous and illegal travel restrictions preventing access to medical care,” the report released on Monday said.
The release has also coincided with Myanmar’s duty to report to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), on how it is preventing genocidal acts against the minority Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.
Myanmar is supposed to submit its periodical report to the ICJ by May 23 as the court in January 2020 imposed a legal injunction ordering the authorities of the Buddhist-majority Southeast Asian country to “prevent and halt genocidal acts against the Rohingya” as part of “provisional measures” and submit follow up reports in a genocide case brought by Gambia.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces while more than 34,000 thrown into fires, over 114,000 others beaten, as many as 18,000 women and girls raped and at least 115,000 homes burned down, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency.
But uncertainty has loomed around the case due to the Feb. 1 military coup in Myanmar, toppling down the democratically elected government.
Myanmar’s agent in the ICJ case, former State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, has been placed under house arrest by the military regime, and faces up to 26 years in prison on a range of charges.
Underling the prevailing crisis in Myanmar, BROUK called on the international community “to redouble efforts to hold the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) to account for atrocity crimes.”
The rights defender also urged the National Unity Government, an anti-coup new platform mostly comprising ousted lawmakers in Myanmar, “to throw its full weight behind the international justice efforts, and submit its own report to the ICJ spelling out how it will end persecution against the Rohingya.”
“The military’s brutal crackdown in Myanmar since the coup has again highlighted how crucial justice is for our country. The same generals who led the killings of thousands of Rohingya in Rakhine State are now gunning down peaceful protesters in the streets,” said BROUK’s head Tun Khin.
Referring to the long-prevailed negligence to Rohingya under both civilian and military regimes, the report claimed that “laws and policies (were) keeping Rohingya in an open-air prison in Rakhine State — where they are denied citizenship and freedom of movement.”
It added: “The pre-coup civilian government took no meaningful steps to change this situation.”
“The ICJ must take steps to strengthen the provisional measures against Myanmar to ensure that they do not end up being a paper promise. The international community must lend the Court its full support — politically and practically — to ensure that this happens,” the report recommends.