In absence of international justice, Rohingya face prolonged genocide plight

In absence of international justice, Rohingya face prolonged genocide plight

Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar are facing unforeseen delays in the international justice process for genocide and other gross human rights violations, prolonging the plight of the displaced community living in squalid makeshift tents in Bangladesh, according to analysts and the persecuted people.
“It’s almost five years since the most inhuman military campaign against us was perpetrated in 2017 and we were forced to leave our motherland. But, we still haven’t gotten justice,” Master Abdur Rahim, an aged Rohingya living in the Kutupalang camp in Bangladesh told Anadolu Agency on the eve of the World Day for International Justice, observed yearly on July 17.
Having survived a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, the school teacher had fled to Bangladesh along with his five children in August 2017. He added that human rights groups, international media, and representatives of other influential bodies, including the UN, had interviewed fellow Rohingya numerous times and recorded documents of actions against them by Myanmar’s army, the Tatmadaw, that have been recognized by several countries as genocidal.
“But, we haven’t seen any hopeful progress in the justice process so far. Why is the world so lazy to ensure justice for us while satellite images, videos of army brutality, and robust documents provided by many injured genocide survivors are available?” Rahim asked.
Referring to the December 2019 genocide case against the Myanmar military filed to the UN top court by the West African country of Gambia, Rahim voiced frustration over the lengthy process of the trial. “This case revived our hope for justice but we’re unsure of whether we’ll get a positive result in near future.”
This sentiment was echoed by Maolana Azimullah, another Rohingya residing in a Bangladeshi refugee camp, who added that above 500,000 Rohingya Muslims still living inside Myanmar are suffering torture and that almost 130,000 of them face harsh conditions in various military-run camps for internally displaced persons.
“If we get justice and see a peaceful environment in Myanmar, we’re ready to go back to our country. But still, our citizenship is withheld and there’s no guarantee that we’ll be safe in our home country,” Azimullah said.
He added that none of the Rohingya in Bangladesh wanted to stay there as displaced people without even refugee status. “We have no right to higher education and the very limited primary education facilities in the restricted camps can never be enough for the survival of a nation. We urgently need justice and a proper environment for returning to our homeland for the sake of our existence as a nation.”

Delayed justice
Despite the availability of documents about the genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, the international community has been accused of failing to play its part in securing justice for the persecuted nation.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, a researcher at the (Genocide) Documentation Center in Cambodia, Maung Zarni, said geopolitical contests between Russia, India, and China were involved in the situation in Myanmar, preventing a strong international role.
“Russia and China in Myanmar, as a strategic theatre, is the fundamental and main obstacle in getting anything meaningful — like genuine international accountability, voluntary repatriation, and restitution regarding Rohingya survivors of Myanmar genocide,” Zarni said.
Pointing to the tumultuous internal situation of Myanmar, he added: “Domestically, there is absolutely no possibility or prospect for a safe, reintegrated future with full citizenship rights, as long as the larger issue of military rule and racism against Rohingyas as specific ethnic and Muslim population is not addressed.”

Ultimate consequence
Due to the delays in justice and repatriation, frustration is mounting among the young Rohingya population.
“When I fled to Bangladesh in 2017 amid the genocide campaign by the Myanmar army, I was a secondary-level student. Had everything gone on properly, I should’ve studied at any university by now. But, my dreams for higher education have been dashed in the restricted and crammed tents in Bangladesh,” Sheikh Mubarak Ali, 19, told Anadolu Agency.
Like Ali, many other Rohingya students in Bangladesh’s southern border district of Cox’s Bazar — which houses the world’s largest refugee settlements — have had to stop their education and are now leading an uncertain and frustrated life.
Preferring not to be named, another Rohingya student said that due to the long-term uncertainty surrounding repatriation, the conditions that Rohingya young people face risked becoming fertile ground for criminal activities and insurgency.
“Please, treat us as human beings. We have the right to justice. We want to study. We want to contribute to our beloved motherland. We don’t want to bear the identity of ‘displaced people’ anymore,” Ali said.
For Zarni, if such uncertainty continues, it may result in more suffering amid the extra-legal and subhuman conditions suffered by most Rohingya in Bangladesh and other countries where they fled in the region.

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