The United Nations Human Rights Council’s (HRC) vote today to create an international and independent mechanism to collect evidence of atrocities against Rohingya is a vital step towards justice for genocide and crimes against humanity, the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) said today.
“Today’s brave vote at the HRC marks an encouraging move towards accountability for some of the worst crimes imaginable. Finally, the international community has shown that it is willing to back up statements with action to end Myanmar’s ongoing genocide against Rohingya people,” said Tun Khin, President of BROUK.
Members of the HRC today voted overwhelmingly to create an impartial and international mechanism to gather evidence of atrocity crimes against Rohingya, which can be used in future criminal prosecutions.
The resolution was passed by the Council by 35 votes in favour, seven abstentions and three votes against (Burundi, China and the Philippines).
The vote followed the devastating report by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Myanmar, which was released in full last week and called for the prosecution of Myanmar’s top military command for genocide and crimes against humanity.
BROUK have consistently called for the international community to take action and hold the Myanmar authorities to account for their genocidal policies against Rohingya people. Thousands of people have been killed and more than 700,000 Rohingya driven to flee into Bangladesh since Myanmar launched its murderous “clearance operation” in August last year.
This is just the latest manifestation of a decades-long attempt by the Myanmar authorities to wipe the Rohingya out as a people. This has included vicious state-sponsored discrimination that has confined Rohingya in Rakhine State to an open air-prison, and similarly brutal and violent operations against Rohingya by security forces.
The HRC resolution does not create an international court or tribunal to try Myanmar military leaders who are responsible for atrocities. BROUK has long urged members of the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in order to ensure a comprehensive investigation into the range of crimes by the Myanmar military across the whole of the country.
“The international community must now build on today’s HRC vote and ensure that the evidence gathered by the new mechanism can serve its purpose – to hold those responsible for genocide to account,” said Tun Khin.
“Members of the UN Security Council must stop hiding behind politics and refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC. If Myanmar is allowed to get away with genocide against Rohingya, it will be a dark stain on the world’s conscience forever.”
“We now urge members of the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee to take the next step and push the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC.”