Third anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar (February 1)

The situation of the Rohingya is getting worse and worse

Ever since the military coup in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, the country has been sinking deeper into chaos and violence. The junta in Myanmar is ignoring the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the protection of the Rohingya. “They are still suffering from legal discrimination – including non-recognition as an ethnic group and the introduction of a National Verification Card that identifies them as foreigners,” explained Jasna Causevic, expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect at the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP). “We expect the German Federal Government to advocate for a referral of the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) – and to support the ongoing investigations – to ensure that the military will not go unpunished.”

The situation of the approximately 1.1 million Rohinga and other refugees in the camps in Bangladesh is still precarious. “In recent years, there has been an increase in killings, abductions, threats, and harassment. Arbitrary arrests and torture by the local armed police and criminal groups are on the rise as well,” Causevic reported. “Just a few weeks ago, a devastating fire in a camp in Bangladesh left 7,000 people homeless. Food is scarce. People are now trying to escape from the refugee camps. In the process, they often become victims of human trafficking.

Also, there are illegal and involuntary repatriations of Rohingya to Myanmar. The humanitarian and security situation in the potential countries of refuge for the Rohingya – Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia – is generally catastrophic. By mid-2023, around 35,000 Rohingya had been resettled on the island of Bhasan Char. A total of 100,000 people from Cox‘s Bazar are to be accommodated there.

“The German Federal Government should advocate for a global arms embargo against the junta – and it should act on third countries that are still supplying weapons to Myanmar to stop this trade immediately. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure better coordination of sanctions against the junta,” Causevic demanded. “Because of their supply chain responsibility, German companies are not allowed to do business with the junta. At the same time, the German Federal Government should step up humanitarian aid for Myanmar and try to ensure that humanitarian and civil society aid organizations will be granted unrestricted access to the population to provide humanitarian aid and to carry out development cooperation measures.” As part of German and European foreign policy, the Foreign Ministry should act on Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand to improve the situation of Myanmar refugees there. The Rohingya may only be repatriated according to humanitarian principles and on a voluntary basis. The living conditions of the many internally displaced persons living in camps in Myanmar must improve significantly.