UNHCR special envoy Angelina Jolie has highly appreciated Bangladesh for the generosity and leadership it demonstrated in dealing with the Rohingya crisis.
She recently wrote a letter to prime minister Sheikh Hasina and appreciated Bangladesh for giving shelter to the Rohingyas and ensuring their safety and security.
The special envoy mentioned that UNHCR would continue its efforts to engage with Myanmar to create suitable conditions for the sustainable return of the Rohingyas.
Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas. Most of them fled their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State after the military launched a brutal offensive targeting the mainly Muslim ethnic minority in late August 2017.
Jolie hoped that Bangladesh’s initiatives for the Rohingyas would help to get better funding for the 2020 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis which would be launched in March.
She committed to continue her advocacy for the humanitarian response for the Rohingyas and expressed gratefulness to the people of Bangladesh for all kinds of support.
JRP 2020 stated that Rohingya response should be a real joint venture ensured by aid transparency and management that should be accountable
Demanding a single line authority for ensuring maximum benefit for the displaced Myanmar citizens (Rohingya refugees), a Cox’s Bazar based network has stated that proper planning will benefit the national and local economy at the same time.
The network, Cox’s Bazar CSO NGO Forum (CCNF), was presenting its response to the Joint Response Plan (JRP) 2020 at a press briefing in the city’s press club.
JRP 2020 stated that Rohingya response should be a real joint venture ensured by aid transparency and management that should be accountable.
The JRP in Rohingya response is being prepared by ISCG (Inter-Sectoral Coordination Group). The Rohingya response will formally be launched in Geneva in March. The plan envisages funds to the tune of around $887 million for 2020.
Tun Khin said he fled the Rakhine state in the 90s after being denied access to a university education simply because of his Rohingya identity. Since then, he has watched from afar how the Myanmar authorities persecuted his people with impunity.
The ICJ in The Hague on January 23 imposed the emergency “provisional measures” on Myanmar regarding its actions against and treatment of the Rohingya community in Rakhine state of the country.
The order may sound like incomprehensible legal jargon to any average person, but for many Rohingyas, it was probably one of the best news they ever received, after waiting for long to witness the international community take meaningful action to end their suffering, Tun Khin wrote.
The “World Court” of the United Nations, with this decision, effectively directed the Myanmar government, led by de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, to respect the requirements of the 1948 genocide convention and bring an end to its military crackdown on the Rohingyas.
This was the first time that a credible international body said “enough” to the Myanmar government that has abused and oppressed the Rohingyas for so many decades, he wrote.
The Rohingyas’ plight captured global attention in August 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a vicious “clearance operation” in the Rakhine State, the then home to over a million Rohingya people. Soldiers went on a rampage through the region, killing thousands, committing mass rapes, burning down entire villages, and driving more than 700,000 people to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh.
The atrocity committed against the Rohingya people was outrageously violent, but that was only the tip of the iceberg, Tu Khin wrote.
Top official says the main target is to repatriate Rohingya to original homeland, in Rakhine state, Myanmar
Bangladesh announced on Sunday that it may drop previous plans to move 100,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote island located in the Bay of Bengal in the country’s south.
“Our main target is to repatriate Rohingya to their original homeland, Myanmar’s Rakhine state,” Foreign Minister Abul Kalam Abdul Momen on Sunday told reporters in the capital Dhaka following a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Li Jiming.
Lauding recent development projects on the islet of Bhasan Char and plans to turn it into a business hub and “new Bangladesh,” Momen said Bangladeshi citizens left homeless due to river erosion or other reasons should instead be settled there.
Bhasan Char, a remote islet where Bangladesh announced in 2018 it would resettle 100,000 Rohingya refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar, is measured 15,000 acres at low tide and 10,000 acres at high tide, according to the government sources.
The scheme had elicited concerns that the site was less than ideal. Dhaka since said it undertook projects to improve living conditions on the islet.
“We all agree not to send Rohingya there. Now we place our recommendations to the government for a final decision on the alternative use of Bhasan Char project,” said Momen.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
Many people do not know what it is like to be a refugee at night. The international humanitarian organizations have to leave the refugee camp at night in Bangladesh. The nighttime in the camps is different than in Rakhine state. Rohingya refugees try to sleep but most can’t sleep for fear of the future and a longing for justice.
However, nighttime is still a social time for Rohingya people. We sit together, and many of us talk about the days that have passed – about our shared suffering from the Myanmar military and our hope for justice.
There are now more than a million Rohingya refugees in the camps in Bangladesh. At night, shops keep their doors open. Rohingya people come and gather around the solar light the shops use to get customers. The solar lights reflect beautifully off the betel-nut and sweet drinks being sold.
Refugees don’t watch clocks or see the time. The days turn into nights. My Rohingya people watch the sun turn into the moon to tell the time – day after day.
I am a Rohingya from Buthidaung Township, in Rakhine state, Myanmar. I fled with other Rohingya after waves of violence from the Myanmar military in August 2017 that killed many people. Since fleeing to the refugee camps I have been training myself in photography through watching YouTube videos on my phone. And through other famous accounts on Instagram and Facebook.
I started taking photos on my phone and later started using a real camera. Now in Bangladesh, we Rohingya have started to find some safety. We have become artists including poets, musicians, and photographers. I have become a photographer and I am using my skills to bring light to my people.
The initial ruling by the International Court of Justice on the case brought by Gambia against Myanmar over its treatment of Rohingya Muslims gives a first look at what the U.N. top legal body’s final judgment might look like.
Opinions are split on what the ruling and provisional demands by the court actually mean, and which side has the upper hand. The ICJ case will take years to unfold. Whatever the outcome of the trial, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, looks set to emerge as the biggest winner.
Contrary to what many have asserted, the ICJ ruling, including the provisional measures, does not actually constitute a finding that Myanmar committed genocide. That judgment will not be made until the end of the case, after extensive collection and adjudication of evidence and arguments by the two sides
In its preliminary ruling on Jan. 23, the ICJ recognized the extreme vulnerability of the Rohingya in Myanmar and the irreparable harm they have suffered, and it orders Myanmar to take all measures within its power to prevent: a) killing members of the group; b) causing serious bod09ily or mental harm to the members of the group; c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
Among better-informed legal experts and analysts, the pursuit of a genocide verdict is perhaps the biggest weakness in Gambia’s case. To meet that standard, Gambia will have to prove that the Myanmar security forces acted with genocidal intent against the Rohingya. Precedent is not in Gambia’s favor. In the genocide case against Serbia in 2006, the ICJ did not find such intent and dismissed the genocide charge. Had Gambia adopted a more realistic strategy of focusing on war crimes, or even ethnic cleansing, it would probably have a better chance of winning.
Myanmar has put in place measures to protect Rohingya Muslims, a spokesman for the ruling party said on Friday, shrugging off an order from the International Court of Justice a day earlier to stop genocidal acts against the ethnic minority.
The Hague-based court-ordered Myanmar to protect the persecuted Rohingya against further atrocities and preserve evidence of alleged crimes, after mostly Muslim Gambia launched a lawsuit in November accusing Myanmar of genocide.
“The government is already doing most of the orders,” Myo Nyunt, a spokesman for the ruling National League for Democracy, told Reuters by phone, without elaborating.
“One more thing we need to do is submit reports,” he said, referring to one of several measures approved by the court requiring Myanmar to write regular summaries of its progress.
But he said the civilian government, who rule jointly with the military in an awkward constitutional arrangement that reserves great powers for the commander-in-chief, could not control troops.
“Under the current political circumstances, we have difficulties solving some issues – such as the (order) that the government must ensure its military or armed insurgents do not commit genocide or attempt to commit genocide against Rohingya or Bengali,” he said.
More than 730,000 Rohingya fled western Rakhine state for neighboring Bangladesh in 2017 to escape a military-led crackdown that the U.N has said was executed with genocidal intent. Myanmar says the military campaign was a legitimate counter-insurgency operation launched in response to militant attacks on security forces.
Some 600,000 Rohingya remain inside Myanmar, confined in apartheid-like conditions to camps and villages, unable to freely access healthcare and education.
While thousands rallied in Yangon in December to support Myanmar’s government as it contested allegations of genocide at the International Court of Justice, the public response to the first of the court’s rulings has been decidedly more muted.
The ICJ imposed a series of provisional measures on Myanmar last week, ordering it to take certain action to prevent future acts of genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority.
The judges also rejected Myanmar’s motions to dismiss the case, which means the trial will now proceed to hear arguments on the alleged genocide itself.
The decision brought criticism from officials. Than Htay, the chairman of the military-aligned opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party claimed “all 52 million people” in Myanmar would disagree with it, according to The Standard Time Daily, a local newspaper.
But on the streets of the country’s biggest city, the ruling barely registered.
Two students who spoke to Al Jazeera separately both said neither they nor their friends particularly cared about the ICJ. “Yes I know about it, but I don’t really follow it,” said one.
Another woman, from Rakhine but living in Yangon, said the result was “as expected”. When asked if she agreed with the ruling, she said: “Yes. It should be.”
The ICJ case against Myanmar was brought by the Gambia accusing the country of committing genocide in its actions against the Rohingya and a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine in 2017 that sent 740,000 people fleeing across the border to Bangladesh.
Two women, one pregnant, were killed and seven other people injured after Myanmar troops shelled a Rohingya village on Saturday, according to a lawmaker and a villager, two days after the U.N.’s highest court ordered the country to protect the minority.
Maung Kyaw Zan, a national member of parliament for Buthidaung township in northern Rakhine state, said shells fired from a nearby battalion hit Kin Taung village in the middle of the night. Government troops have been battling ethnic rebels in the state for more than a year.
“There was no fighting, they just shot artillery to a village without a battle,” he told Reuters by phone, adding it was the second time this year that civilians had been killed.
The military denied responsibility, blaming the rebels who they said attacked a bridge in the early hours of the morning.
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee northern Rakhine state in 2017 after a military crackdown that the U.N has said was executed with genocidal intent.
More recently, the region was plunged into further chaos by fresh fighting between the military and the Arakan Army, a rebel group that recruits from the mostly Buddhist majority in the state. That conflict has displaced tens of thousands and killed dozens.
Of the several hundred thousand Rohingya still in Rakhine, many are confined to apartheid-like conditions, unable to travel freely or access healthcare and education. They are caught in the middle of the fighting, and travel restrictions mean they are less able to flee than Buddhist neighbors.
In early January, four Rohingya children died in a blast the military and rebels blamed on each other.
Two military spokesmen did not answer phone calls from Reuters seeking comment on Saturday’s deaths. In a statement posted on the Russian social media network VK, the army confirmed the deaths but blamed the Arakan Army, saying its artillery had hit the village during clashes.
An independent panel has concluded war crimes were committed by Myanmar forces during security operations, but it stopped short of talking of genocide against Rohingya.
An independent commission appointed by Myanmar’s government said Monday that war crimes were likely committed against the Rohingya ethnic minority by Myanmar security forces during counterinsurgency operations.
The “Independent Commission of Enquiry,” (ICOE) was formed in 2018 in response to international calls for accountability from Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis.
Although the ICOE statement implies that Myanmar’s security forces are guilty of major abuses, which is more direct than previous public statements by Myanmar’s government, the panel said there is “no evidence” of genocide.
More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state to neighboring Bangladesh in 2017. More than 900,000 Rohingya continue to live in refugee camps in southern Bangladesh.
The UN has said Myanmar’s military operations targeted Rohingya areas, with gang rapes and mass killings and destruction of villages carried out with “genocidal intent.”
A statement released by the ICOE said the “killing of innocent villagers took place during an “internal armed conflict” provoked by Rohingya attacks on police outposts. It said the response was “disproportionate” but did not amount to genocide.
“War crimes, serious human rights violations, and violations of domestic law took place during the security operations … There are reasonable grounds to believe that members of Myanmar’s security forces were involved.”
ICJ to rule on Myanmar genocide
In November, the Gambia filed a case with the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing Myanmar of an “ongoing genocide” against the Rohingya, and urging the court to take emergency measures. The ICJ in The Hague will issue a decision on the request Thursday.