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Analysis, Diplomacy

Myanmar must be held accountable for Rohingya crisis

International voices are calling for Myanmar to take responsibility for the Rohingya crisis and for crimes committed by its forces.


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Updated: May 4, 2018

Over 700,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh since late August last year following a crackdown by the Myanmar military. The situation is now seen as the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.

Myanmar security forces are accused of killing and raping Rohingyas, and burning and looting Rohingya houses in Rakhine– atrocities that United Nations termed ethnic cleansing.

Despite demands from various parts of the world, Myanmar’s atrocities have not been referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) yet. The UN Security Council has yet to take any concrete steps against Myanmar mainly because of opposition from China and Russia, two countries with veto powers.

The UNSC delegation, after visiting Bangladesh and Myanmar last week, said the atrocities require proper investigation.

Calls for investigation, accountability 

Myanmar must be held accountable for crimes against humanity, said Canadian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Myanmar Bob Rae yesterday.

“The fight is not over by any means. If people think that they have somewhere to hide, or that they have somewhere to go where they won’t have to face accountability, they are sadly mistaken. There will be accountability,” he told journalists.

US President Donald Trump has taken steps to assure Bangladesh of continuing its pressure on Myanmar over repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh.

“The United States will continue to pressure Myanmar to create necessary conditions for the safe and voluntary return of the Rohingya people to their homeland,” Trump said in a letter sent to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

There is no doubt that the ones responsible for instigating this crisis in Myanmar must be held accountable, the letter reads.

The State Department says that the US government is conducting an intensive examination of alleged atrocities against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, in an investigation that could be used to prosecute Myanmar’s military for crimes against humanity.

The undertaking has involved more than a thousand interviews of Rohingya men and women in refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh

Security Council visit 

The calls for an investigation were echoed by the UN Security Council which visited Cox Bazaar and Myanmar over the past week.

“In order to have accountability there must be a proper investigation,” Britain’s UN ambassador Karen Pierce said during the visit.

Hundreds of Rohingya staged a demonstration during the visit to refugee camps in Bangladesh. Some of the Muslim refugees broke down in tears as they told the ambassadors harrowing stories of murder and rape in Myanmar. The demonstrators waved placards demanding justice for atrocities against the refugees until they were dispersed by police.

The ambassador said that if the Myanmar government was not willing to conduct its own comprehensive investigation into the atrocities, an International Criminal Court referral would.



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About the Author: ANN’s current Chairman is Mr Warren Fernandez, who is also Editor-in-Chief of The Straits Times, Singapore. He is the current President of the World Editors Forum.

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