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US announcement on Rohingya Genocide: Dhaka hopes it helps repatriation

Bangladesh has welcomed US announcement acknowledging Rohingya genocide noting that it might expedite efforts on accountability and repatriation fronts.

“Though late, it’s a good news. We welcome it,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters at his office while responding to a question.

He said if genocide takes place anywhere it should be acknowledged and the perpetrators should not go unpunished.

“That’s why we say never again. We don’t want to see any genocide. Unfortunately, genocide is taking place,” said Momen.

Terming the US a good friend of Bangladesh, Momen hoped that will put more pressure on Myanmar so that they take back Rohingyas to their homeland in Rakhine State.

“If the repatriation efforts are expedited through this US announcement, we will be very happy,” he said, adding that they are focusing on two goals – welfare of Rohingyas through repatriation and prevent repetition of genocide.

Momen said the victims of genocide must get justice and hoped that the genocide case against Myanmar filed by The Gambia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will get momentum.

Matthew Smith, chief executive officer at Fortify Rights, termed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s announcement “historic” for the Rohingya and all people of Myanmar and also for wider efforts to prevent and remedy genocide.

“To prevent genocide, governments must at least acknowledge it when it happens, which is precisely what the US government did today.

United Nations member states should publicly acknowledge the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar and ensure that the UN Security Council refers the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC),” said Fortify Rights Monday.

US announcement on Rohingya Genocide: Dhaka hopes it helps repatriation

On Monday, the US announced that the Myanmar military is responsible for committing genocide against the Rohingya people.

“It is a signalling and remarkable milestone for Rohingya victims and survivors that the US has formally determined that the violence committed against Rohingya by the Myanmar military amounts to genocide and crimes against humanity,” said Zaw Win, human rights specialist at Fortify Rights.

“It has been a long-term expectation for the Rohingya community. Declaring that what happened to the Rohingya is in fact genocide should spur international accountability efforts and make it more difficult for the Myanmar military to continue its atrocity crimes.”

In November 2019, the Gambia filed a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the UN’s highest court, for failing to prevent or punish genocide against Rohingya Muslims. The case is ongoing.

In September 2018, the ICC granted the chief prosecutor jurisdiction to investigate and possibly prosecute the crime against humanity of forced deportation of Rohingyas to Bangladesh, as well as persecution and other inhumane acts.

Last month, Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan concluded his first visit to Bangladesh as part of the ongoing investigation.

While the ICC is investigating forced deportation, it is not yet investigating the crime of genocide against Rohingya.

And the intergovernmental organisation has not yet accepted the National Unity Government of Myanmar’s declaration delegating jurisdiction of the court.

The UN Security Council members should immediately put forward a resolution to refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC, said Fortify Rights.

The UN members should also acknowledge the legitimacy of the National Unity Government of Myanmar and get fully behind its efforts to delegate jurisdiction to the court.

“Secretary Blinken’s announcement is historic for the Rohingya and all people of Myanmar and also for wider efforts to prevent and remedy genocide,” said Smith.

“To prevent genocide, governments must at least acknowledge it when it happens, which is precisely what the US government did today.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh