Top diplomats of the EU, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the UK, and US called on Thursday to hold accountable perpetrators of human rights violations against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.
In a joint statement marking the fifth anniversary of the “brutal” military campaign against the Muslim minority, the foreign ministers commended the “courage of Rohingya communities” and paid tribute to the victims.
They urged the “military regime to cease its violence against those who have suffered under its rule, including the decades of grave human rights violations and abuses endured by Rohingya and other communities in Myanmar.”
The EU high representative and foreign ministers called on the military regime to comply with the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) interim measures, and reaffirmed their commitment to hold the perpetrators accountable to “ensure justice for Rohingya victims.”
The statement pointed out that the 2017 “violent attack on Rohingya communities in Rakhine, killing, raping, and torturing thousands of Rohingya men, women, and children” led to “one of the largest mass exoduses of a minority in recent history” in which over 700,000 people fled Myanmar for neighboring Bangladesh.
It expressed concerns about the results of the UN Fact Finding Mission that established “patterns of serious human rights violations and abuses, of which many amount to grave crimes under international law,” and also recognized the initiative of Gambia to call on the ICJ to examine if the atrocities can be considered as genocide.
The announcement hailed the UN, Bangladesh and other hosting nations “for their generosity and providing lifesaving support to Rohingya,” and advocated for the “safe, voluntary, dignified” return of the people to their home communities.
A mass exodus of Rohingya people started on Aug. 25, 2017, after Myanmar’s military launched a brutal operation against the Muslim minority in the country’s northern region.
Since then, approximately 1.2 million Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh and live in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps.