In the absence of international justice, the Rohingya face protracted genocide

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims are facing unforeseen delays in the international justice process for genocide and other gross human rights abuses, prolonging the plight of the displaced community living in squalid makeshift tents in Bangladesh, analysts say and persecuted people.

“It’s been almost five years since the most inhumane military campaign against us was perpetrated in 2017 and we were forced to leave our homeland. But, we still haven’t gotten justice,” said Master Abdur Rahim, a Rohingya living in Kutupalang camp in Bangladesh told Anadolu Agency on the eve of the World Day of International Justice, celebrated annually on July 17.

After surviving a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State, the teacher fled to Bangladesh with his five children in August 2017. He added that human rights groups man, international media and representatives of other influential bodies, including the UN, had repeatedly interviewed his fellow Rohingyas and recorded documents of actions against them by Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, which were recognized by several countries as genocidal.

“But, we have not seen any promising progress in the judicial process so far. Why is the world so lazy to guarantee us justice when satellite images, videos of army brutality and solid documents provided by many injured genocide survivors are available?” asks Rahim.

Referring to the December 2019 genocide case against the Myanmar military filed in the UN’s highest court by the West African country of The Gambia, Rahim expressed his frustration over throughout the trial. “This case has rekindled our hope for justice but we don’t know if we will get a positive outcome in the near future.”

This sentiment was echoed by Maolana Azimullah, another Rohingya residing in a Bangladeshi refugee camp, who added that more than 500,000 Rohingya Muslims still living in Myanmar are suffering from torture and nearly 130,000 of them face harsh conditions in various IDP camps run by the army. .

“If we get justice and see a peaceful environment in Myanmar, we are ready to return to our country. But despite everything, we are denied our citizenship and there is no guarantee that we will be safe in our home country. “Azimullah said.

He added that none of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh wanted to stay there as displaced people without even having refugee status. “We are not entitled to higher education and the very limited primary education facilities in the restricted camps will never be enough for the survival of a nation. We urgently need justice and an appropriate environment to return to our homeland for the sake of our existence as a nation.”

justice delayed

Despite the availability of documents on the genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, the international community has been accused of failing to play its part in securing justice for the persecuted nation.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, a researcher from the Documentation Center (on Genocide) in Cambodia, Maung Zarni, said that geopolitical conflicts between Russia, India and China were involved in the situation in Myanmar, preventing a strong international role.

“Russia and China in Myanmar, as a strategic theater, is the fundamental and main obstacle to obtaining anything of significance – such as true international responsibility, voluntary repatriation and restitution concerning the Rohingya survivors of the genocide in Myanmar,” Zarni said.

Highlighting Myanmar’s tumultuous internal situation, he added: “Domestically, there is absolutely no possibility or prospect of a secure and reintegrated future with full citizenship rights, as long as the broader issue of the regime military and racism against the Rohingya as an ethnicity and Muslim population is not addressed.”

Ultimate consequence

Due to justice and repatriation delays, frustration is mounting among the young Rohingya population.

“When I fled to Bangladesh in 2017 amid the Myanmar military’s campaign of genocide, I was a high school student. If all had gone well, I should have studied at any what a university now. But my dreams of higher education were crushed in the cramped and crowded tents in Bangladesh,” 19-year-old Sheikh Mubarak Ali told Anadolu Agency.

Like Ali, many other Rohingya students in Bangladesh’s southern border district of Cox’s Bazar – home to the world’s largest refugee camps – had to drop out of school and now lead uncertain and frustrated lives.

Preferring not to be named, another Rohingya student said that due to the long-term uncertainty surrounding repatriation, the conditions faced by young Rohingyas risked becoming fertile ground for criminal activity and insurgency.

“Please treat us as human beings. We have a right to justice. We want to study. We want to contribute to our beloved homeland. We no longer want to carry the identity of ‘displaced people'” , Ali said.

For Zarni, if such uncertainty persists, it could lead to more suffering amid the extra-legal and inhumane conditions suffered by most Rohingya in Bangladesh and other countries to which they have fled in the region.

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Elna M. Lemons