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Asean: Hague hearing marks monumental effort for justice

  • Published at 03:01 pm December 11th, 2019
File photo: Gambia's Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou and Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi attend a hearing in a case filed by Gambia against Myanmar alleging genocide against the minority Rohingya population, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on December 10, 2019 Reuters

APHR urges Myanmar to take immediate action to guarantee human rights for the Rohingya

Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) board member Kasit Piromya has said the cycle of violence against Myanmar's ethnic and religious groups will never end without accountability for atrocities.

Kasit Piromya, also Thailand’s former member of parliament (MP), said the atrocities include systematic killings, rape, sexual violence and other crimes committed against the Rohingya, reports UNB.

Former Cambodian MP and APHR board member Mu Sochua said it is “saddening and still a little bewildering” for many of them across this region that a former democracy champion, and someone they spent years defending the rights of, has sought to stall and subvert any genuine efforts to address accusations of serious human rights violations under her government and is now herself defending allegations of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Parliamentarians from across Southeast Asia welcomed the first hearing in the case against Myanmar at the UN’s highest court as an initial step towards justice and possible recognition of the crime of genocide committed against the Rohingya on Wednesday.

The second day hearing on provisional measures is being held in The Hague, Netherlands, at which a delegation from Myanmar is being headed by Aung San Suu Kyi herself.

“This marks the start of a monumental effort for justice that could put an end to some of the horrific abuses that the Rohingya are facing,” said Kasit Piromya.

The hearing follows The Gambia’s request for the ICJ to order provisional measures as “a matter of extreme urgency” requiring Myanmar to take – among others – measures to prevent ongoing genocidal acts.

The Gambia case

Backed by 57 member states of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), The Gambia filed a case last month at the ICJ against Myanmar for violating provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to which Myanmar has been a party to since 1956.

The Gambia case follows findings from the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar which recommended Myanmar be brought before the ICJ after it found that Myanmar had committed “genocidal acts” during the  2017 “clearance operations” that killed thousands and caused more than 740,000 Rohingyas to flee for their lives to Bangladesh.

Approximately one million Rohingya refugees are currently living in Cox’s Bazar camps in Bangladesh.

A MP of Malaysia and APHR board chair Charles Santiago said: “On International Human Rights Day today, we emphasize that ensuring accountability is a critical move, but not the only one that Myanmar must take. 

"We have consistently supported the calls from the Rohingya themselves for the Myanmar authorities to lift all restrictions against them, restore their basic rights, including citizenship rights, and ensure their safety and security so that they can return to their homes and live normal lives.”

Numerous restrictions, including those on citizenship rights, freedom of movement, and access to education and healthcare, continue to be placed upon the Rohingya in Myanmar.

APHR urges Myanmar to take immediate action to guarantee these rights for the Rohingya and again called on the international community to do all in its power to ensure the Rohingya living in Myanmar have their rights restored and that those in Bangladesh are able to return to their homes free from persecution or threats, and with their rights fully restored.

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