Saturday, April 20, 2024

Genocide Day: Rohingyas worldwide to hold online marathon rally on 25 August

Rohingya refugees in India. Photo: Irfan Hadi K

Three years on, the Rohingya Muslim minority on 25 August, will commemorate the crackdown by Myanmar’s armed forces and police which drove away hundreds of thousands from their lands.

On August 25, 2017, the Myanmar military began a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims involving mass killing, rape, and arson that forced over 740,000 to flee, most to neighboring Bangladesh, which was already hosting an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 Rohingya refugees who had fled persecution dating back to the 1990s and after.

Rohingyas worldwide to hold online marathon rally

“Rohingyas and those who stand in solidarity with them, will mark the 3rd anniversary of Myanmar’s genocide, in the first-ever worldwide multilingual online rally,” said the Free Rohingya Coalition, a global network of activists, in a statement on Friday.

” The event will bring together more than four dozen international supporters including UN officials, human rights activists, genocide scholars, international law experts, and concerned journalists from all continents. They will join Rohingya survivors and refugees to memorialise and honour the thousands of victims slaughtered, raped and tortured in the violent purge by Myanmar government troops, that began on 25th August 2017,” it said.

Solidarity, messages of compassion, and calls to end the ongoing genocide will be delivered in 12 languages including Rohingya, Burmese, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Malay, Bahasa Indonesian, Mandarin, Khmer, Japanese, Italian, Spanish and Turkish.

Myanmar failed to ensure that nearly one million Rohingyas can safely return home

The Myanmar government has failed to ensure that nearly one million Rohingya refugees can safely return home three years since fleeing the Myanmar military’s crimes against humanity and possible genocide, Human Rights Watch said on Monday.

“Myanmar’s government should recognize that the terrible suffering it has caused the Rohingya won’t disappear even amid a global pandemic,” said Brad Adams, HRW Asia director. “Myanmar needs to accept an international solution that provides for the safe, voluntary return of Rohingya refugees, while an understandably stretched Bangladesh should not make conditions inhospitable for refugees who have nowhere to go.”

The 600,000 Rohingya remaining in Myanmar’s Rakhine State face severe repression and violence, with no freedom of movement or other basic rights. Desperate Rohingya who fled Myanmar face severe risks seeking refuge throughout the region.

Rohingyas in Myanmar have been subjected to state policies of persecution which are widely considered to be a textbook example of genocide.

Myanmar is currently facing a full investigation for its grave crimes in international law including the crimes of deportation and other crimes against humanity by the ICC. Last December UN’s highest court, International Court of Justice began the public hearing over Gambia’s allegations that Myanmar has violated its obligations under the genocide convention. 

January ICJ judges had unanimously ordered Myanmar to immediately end any and all acts of genocide against Rohingya people, as they are protected by the genocide convention.

Return with dignity

As one refugee, Abdul Hamid, told Human Rights Watch: “We witnessed thousands of people being killed. Bodies were floating in the river in Tula Toli, but no justice has been served.”

Refugees who have spoken to Human Rights Watch overwhelmingly express a desire to return to their homes in Myanmar once it is safe; when they have citizenship and freedom of movement; and when there is genuine accountability for atrocities. “We deeply want to go back to our country and check on our land and our animals, but it is impossible since we can’t find justice,” said Sheru Hatu, a refugee.

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