Rohingya leading the way on justice for genocide – but we need the support of the international community

Media release from Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK)

Friday 25 August marks the sixth year since the Burmese military launched a full-scale attack on Rohingya in Rakhine state, killing and raping thousands, including children, and forcing close to 800,000 Rohingya to flee across the border to Bangladesh. Rohingya are leading the way to secure justice and accountability for the crimes committed against us, but we need the international community to step up their efforts to support us.

In 2021, the Argentinian judiciary opened a universal jurisdiction case against the Burmese military, after being successfully petitioned by BROUK. In June this year seven Rohingya victims, one man and six women, who had survived sexual violence and other atrocities, testified to the court. It was the first time ever that those exposed to the 2017 violence had appeared before a court of law anywhere in the world. Strong judicial evidence has been gathered and the hope is that perpetrators can be soon targeted.

“This is not just a fight for justice for Rohingya, but for everyone in Burma. BROUK is showing that it is possible to demand accountability for the crimes committed by the military, and that their long-lived impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, finally is threatened”, said Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK).

In 2019, the International Criminal Court launched an investigation against the Burmese military for crimes against humanity against the Rohingya. The same year, the International Court of Justice, at the behest of the Gambia, began a genocide trial against Burma’s then civilian and military leadership – a trial that finally received the green light to go ahead last year, after Burma’s last desperate attempts to derail it were overruled. But the provisional measures set out by the court to stop the genocide against Rohingya are being ignored by the Burmese military.

“BROUK is calling on the UN Security Council to convene a meeting to discuss the non-implementation of the International Court of Justice’s provisional measures. These measures were laid down by the court to stop the genocide of Rohingya, but they are being completely ignored by the Burmese military. The Security Council has a responsibility to act,” said Tun Khin.

As multiple reports from BROUK have shown, the genocide against Rohingya is ongoing. Inside Burma, some 600,000 Rohingya live in a de facto open-air prison. Rohingya are largely confined to their villages, unable to go to hospitals, schools or to seek employment.

“We would like to see other countries open universal jurisdiction cases or implement legalisation that allows for universal jurisdiction cases in their countries. More countries should join Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom to formally intervene in the ICJ case to strengthen it”, said Tun Khin.

Since the attempted military coup in Burma on 1 February, 2021, the forces behind the Rohingya genocide, the Burmese military, are now fighting for power all over Burma. This is making the return of around one million Rohingya refugees, still stranded in Bangladesh in appalling conditions, a distant prospect.

“International governments must step up the pressure on the Burmese military, to help all the people of Burma defeat the military and to end the genocide. Sanctions on the military and its economic interests need to be broadened, including sanctions on MOGE, gas revenue, state owned banks, aviation fuel and mining enterprises.  Some governments and the EU have sanctioned some entities, but no one has sanctioned all. We need to see stronger coordination of international sanctions, to make the impact on the Burmese military as strong as possible”, said Tun Khin.

BROUK is also calling on the international community to reverse the inhumane aid cuts to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, who are relying completely on humanitarian aid for their survival. The World Food Programme has had to cut the monthly food rations for Rohingya from $12 to $8 per person this year.

“The British government alone has cut aid to Rohingya with 82%. This is indefensible, leaving victims of genocide to starve”, Tun Khin said.

For more information contact Tun Khin on +44 (0)7888 714 866.

BROUK report: