Impunity in Burma
World Security Council and International Criminal Court must intervene! (Press Release)
Still no legal consequences for the massacres of the Muslim Rohingya minority Burma: According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), a few soldiers were sentenced to ten years imprisonment, but were secretly released shortly after. "Clearly, their conviction was planned as a fig leaf from the very beginning," emphasized Jasna Causevic, one of the STP’s Experts on Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect. "In fact, there is a culture of impunity in Burma."
The Burmese rulers are unwilling to take responsibility for the war crimes committed by the police and the armed forces. Instead, they are delaying and obstructing necessary democratic processes and other initiatives to find solutions. Several United Nations agencies, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, and the Independent International Investigation Mission have called on the government of Burma to investigate all human rights violations and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
"However, the government has not taken any serious action in this direction," Causevic stated. In September 2018, seven army members were convicted in connection with the Inn-Din massacre – apparently a deception maneuver, as they were released shortly after. "The international community must not wait any longer! International mechanisms must take effect, and the victims must receive justice. "The Security Council is in demand. The International Criminal Court, ad hoc tribunals of the United Nations, hybrid or domestic tribunals with intergovernmental support have been successful in the past. In addition to justice for the victims, it is necessary to keep the perpetrators from committing further crimes.
"The recent ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya have not exactly provoked strong emotions in Europe. An entire people is denied their fundamental human rights and their right to exist – without a reaction by the international community," stated Dr. Ambia Perveen, Burmese Pediatrician and Vice President of the European Rohingya Council. The Rohingya have no citizenship rights in Burma. They are not allowed to participate in public life, and they have to put up with massive restrictions on their fundamental human rights. More than one million displaced people are unable to return to their homes. Due to a lack of access to health services and lack of opportunities to make a living, many more are forced to flee. Between 2012 and October 2016, up to 168,000 Rohingya were forced to flee from Burma. Following the escalation of violence in August 2017, another 738,196 people sought refuge in Bangladesh – and there are still reports of new arrivals. In the center of Rakhine State, 127,433 internally displaced persons have been living in camps or similar facilities since 2012. Violence and displacement are not limited to Rakhine State, and other minority groups in the multi-ethnic state are affected as well.
Header image: Loey Felipe/UN Photo