ASIA/MYANMAR - Condition of the Rohingya: the Burmese government in the Hague

Friday, 22 May 2020 religious minorities   genocide   ethnic minorities   politics   human rights  


Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - On Saturday 23 May the Burmese government must present its first report on the condition of the Muslim minority of the Rohingya in Myanmar, in compliance with a sentence of 23 January in which the International Court of Justice in The Hague imposed on the government to draw up a "first dossier" after four months and, subsequently, every six months. The Rohingya minority, until 2017 mostly resident in the Burmese state of Rakhine, now mainly resides abroad: above all in Bangladesh, which is home to about one million refugees, over 700 thousand of whom fled Myanmar in the summer of 2017. The case will be discussed in the Hague Court in two sessions: on July 23, 2020, when the Court will hear Gambia (the State that officially filed the complaint) and on January 25, 2021, when it will be the turn of Myanmar.
The content of the report is unknown but in April the Burmese government published two decrees: n. 1/2020 orders ministries and governments of federation States to ensure that their employees "do not commit" the acts defined in the Genocide Convention; and n. 2/2020 which prohibits "destroying or removing" evidence of genocide.
In recent months the Burmese army has shown its willingness to collaborate with both local and international justice, arresting some soldiers suspected of torture and claiming to be an active part in the investigation into the killing of an operator of the World Organization of the Health in conflict areas. In addition, the army announced on May 10 a four-month truce - requested by the UN and the Pope in March and reiterated by Asian bishops and several countries - which however excludes the Chin and Rakhine states.
As for the repatriation of the Rohingya from Bangladesh, U Zaw Htay, spokesman for the presidency of the Republic, has just detected the discovery of Covid-19 cases in the Bangladeshi refugee camps at Cox's Bazar, thus indicating a probable delay in the repatriation process, which already presented many uncertainties. (MG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 22/5/2020)