AI warns against distraction from plight of Rohingya Muslims

Denials by Myanmar's State Counsellor and de facto head of state Aung San Suu Kyi against charges of genocide case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) must not serve as a distraction of the plight of Rohingya Muslims, Amnesty International warned.

Iran Press/ Asia: She is leading Myanmar’s delegation to the three-day hearing at The Hague, the Netherlands to respond for the first time to a case filed by Gambia alleging that Myanmar has breached its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention. Once regarded as an international rights icon for standing up to Myanmar's brutal junta, Aung San Suu Kyi has seen her reputation tarnished by siding with the military over the Rohingya genocide.

“Aung San Suu Kyi tried to downplay the severity of the crimes committed against the Rohingya population. In fact, she wouldn’t even refer to them by name or acknowledge the scale of the abuses. Such denials are deliberate, deceitful and dangerous," said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director responding to her statement in The Hague on Wednesday.

“The exodus of more than three-quarters of a million people from their homes and country was nothing but the result of an orchestrated campaign of murder, rape, and terror. To suggest that the military ‘did not distinguish clearly enough between fighters and civilians’ defies belief.

Likewise, the suggestion that Myanmar authorities can currently and independently investigate and prosecute those suspected of crimes under international law is nothing but a fantasy, in particular in the case of senior military perpetrators who have enjoyed decades of total impunity."

He said the case is about justice for the Rohingya community, including the 600,000 still in Rakhine State who are at risk of further crimes and urgently need protection. "It’s also about the hundreds of thousands of refugees who can’t return to Myanmar. Despite what Suu Kyi has said today, it is not safe to do so."

Amnesty International’s investigation has identified 13 senior officials – including Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar military Senior General Min Aung Hlaing – as warranting investigation and prosecution for crimes against the Rohingya.

“The Court and international community should move swiftly to protect Rohingya and prevent further atrocities. This includes ordering Myanmar to lift discriminatory restrictions, ensure humanitarian access, and cooperate fully with any international investigation,” Bequelin added.


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