What Rohingyas are facing is genocide’
Mahadi Al Hasnat ● Published at 01:49 AM November 18, 2017
‘I think that China can play some sort of diplomatic role in this regard’
Speakers at a plenary session in Dhaka Lit Fest (DLF) on Friday said that the ongoing persecution on the Rohingyas in Myanmar’s Rakhine State was genocide and should be taken to the International Criminal Court in The Hague with evidence for an impartial investigation.
The session titled “Rohingyas: Landless Future” was held at 4:30pm at the Cosmic Tent on Bangla Academy premises with US Army War College Research Professor Azeem Ibrahim, former UN under-secretary-general Ameerah Haq, Prof Jeff Kingston from Japan’s Temple University, British journalist Justin Rowlatt, and writer and journalist Michael Vatikiotis as panelists.
DLF’s title sponsor Dhaka Tribune’s Editor Zafar Sobhan moderated the session which discussed different aspects of the major humanitarian crisis.Azeem Ibrahim, author of “The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide”, termed the military atrocity on the Rohingyas a genocide. “It was organised and pre-planned. I believe it is genocide according to the 1948 Genocide Convention.“I also believe that the policymakers, including the UN, will not classify it as genocide simply because once the process is undertaken, it automatically triggers the UN and international community to take particular course of action in the Security Council,” he said.
Criticising the lack of outrage from the international community over the Rohingya crisis, former UN official Ameerah Haq said in case of other previous crises the same community was not silent. She also stressed on finding a regional solution to the crisis and termed the recent ASEAN Summit disappointing as it failed to shed light on this issue.
Speaking further on the matter, she blamed China and Russia for their unwillingness to bring the issue at UN Security Council and have a resolution. Taking queue, Michael Vatikiotis, author of the book “ Blood and Silk : Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast,” said: “This is not just a humanitarian crisis affecting Bangladesh and Myanmar. This is a major rift between two great religions [Islam and Buddhism] in this part of the world.
“This conflict has opened a huge rift in relations across Southeast Asia. “The conflict also brought the great Indo-Pak drama to the borders of Myanmar.” Talking about the role of other countries across the world to help bring a solution to the Rohingya crisis, Prof Jeff Kingston said: “I do not think the US has enough influence on the Myanmar government as [US Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson’s meeting resulted into nothing.
“I think that China can play some sort of diplomatic role in this regard.” British journalist Justin Rowlatt, who joined the session at DLF right after his visit to the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, shared with the panellists and the audience the miserable conditions the Rohingyas are living in now after losing everything in the military crackdown in Rakhine state.
The speakers also opined that Bangladesh should bring the issue to the International Criminal Court ( ICC ) for it to investigate and find out how the crisis began. They also called for documentation and preservation of everything on the ongoing violence on the Rohingyas.