Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs Malaysia, applauds the courageous and decisive action by the Gambian government to bring the Myanmar government to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This, after all efforts to resolve the crisis through diplomatic channels have failed.
The west African nation is due to open its case before the ICJ in December, 2019 on behalf of the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The complaint accuses Myanmar of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention through its brutal military campaign which targeted the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state.
The case will be the first international legal attempt over the Rohingya crisis, and is a rare example of a country suing another over an issue to which it is not directly a party.
The ICJ was set up in 1946 after World War II to adjudicate in disputes between member states.
The International Criminal Court – another Hague-based court set up in 2002 to probe war crimes – last week authorized its chief prosecutor to launch a full investigation into the prosecution of the Rohingyas.
ACCIN due to these recent years events, is alarmed by the situation in northern Rakhine, Myanmar, where the Rohingyas are systemically subjected to ethnic cleansing, torture, rape and put in concentration camps with their human rights violated to the extreme.
There is increasing recognition of the fact by virtue of a 444 page United Nations report that indicts the Myanmar regime of fourth stage genocide. There is as many as one and a half million Rohingyas that have been mercilessly driven away from their homeland to near and far places with no solution whatsoever in the horizon in regards to their repatriation and right of return.
“Evidence of a new reign of terror and wholesale destruction of communities exercised by the Myanmar State against the Rohingya population has emerged” in Nov. 2016. This is a continuation of the persecution of the Rohingyas, which significantly escalated since 1978 under the military junta of General U Ne Win.
That year, national identification card holders of Rohingya descent were duped into
surrendering their cards to the government who promised to reissue new identity cards. Without any new cards, they were declared stateless and therefore illegal immigrants.
On the 25 th November 2016, the Malaysian Government officially referred to the “alleged ethnic cleansing” of Rohingyas. No less than seven Nobel Peace laureates have stepped forward to condemn the massacre and have urged that it be described and designated as no less a genocide. They are Maired Maguire – Northern Ireland, Jody Williams – USA, Tawakkol Karman – Yemen, Shirin Ebadi – Iran, Leymah Gbouree – Liberia, Adolfo Perez Esquivel – Argentina and Bishop Desmond Tutu – South Africa. According to these laureates, the Rohingyas face a textbook case of genocide where entire indigenous communities are being systematically wiped out by the Myanmar government.
ACCIN urges an immediate and total stop to this violence to humanity. It is our sincere hope that the ASEAN governments would emulate the Gambian government’s decisive action to pressure Myanmar to resolve the crisis and prevent the tragedy from continuing.
The principle of non interference in the affairs of an ASEAN nation is superseded by the 1948 UN Genocide Covention of which all ASEAN member nations are signatories.
ACCIN is of the view that the example set by the Gambian Government in this pursuit of justice will encourage other nations to similarly seek justice for the many oppressed people around the world. As the saying goes, “action speaks louder than mere words.”