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Press Release

ERC welcomes landmark Human Rights Council resolution on Burma (Myanmar) but calls for more action to secure ICC referral

Geneva, Amsterdam, Hamburg: The European Rohingya Council (ERC) welcomes the resolution on Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar adopted by the Human Rights Council in Geneva today, especially its call for an impartial and independent mechanism to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011. The ERC also welcomes the extension of the mandate of the International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (IIFFM) until such a mechanism is established.

The ERC applauds the hard work of the IIFFM and strongly agrees that the Burmese Military and security forces have committed genocide against Rohingyas, crimes against humanity and war crimes against Kachin and Shan people.

As the Vice Chairperson of the ERC Dr. Ambia Perveen says, the call for establishing an impartial and independent mechanism surely goes in the right direction. However, this cannot be the only outcome for the Rohingya community. We regret that the Resolution fails to call for Myanmar to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and we urge the United Nations General Assembly to consider the matter during its current session. An international criminal justice mechanism against genocide perpetrators “is the only way to prevent future genocidal persecutions against Rohingya and other minorities, and it remains the overwhelming consensus among the survivors of gravest crimes. All perpetrators and those who are complicit to genocide must be brought into international justice and that is ICC referral”, Dr. Perveen highlights.

The resolution calls upon the government of Myanmar to take all necessary measures to ensure accountability and to end impunity for all violations of human rights, by undertaking a full, transparent and independent investigation into reports of all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. However, as the Chairman of the ERC Dr. Hla Kyaw reminds, it “is utterly delusional to call upon perpetrators for justice and accountability”.

In the Resolution, Members of the Council express their regret that the Government of Myanmar has not yet fully implemented all recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, and call upon the government of Myanmar to restore Rohingya citizenship and implement the recommendations of the late Mr. Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. The

ERC notes with regret that, to date, the Government of Myanmar has taken no sincere steps to implement any of the recommendations. Dr. Hla Kyaw continues that “calling on the Government of Myanmar to implement the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations is again delusional and will only fall on the deaf ears. Myanmar has zero record of implementing Advisory Commission´s recommendation in the past two years. All these measures by the Burmese Government is to deceive international community and buy time to wipe the Rohingya ethnic minority from Myanmar”.

The European Rohingya Council highly appreciates the European Union for their commitment in solving the Rohingya crisis. Leading the establishment of the Fact-Finding Mission and the impartial and independent mechanism is a confirmation of EU’s continuous engagement in promoting human rights and ensuring that they are delivered to the ones who are deprived of them in Myanmar. “The EU must continue to play its leadership role to ensure justice and accountability, exploring the path for a stronger call for direct ICC referral. This is the quickest and secured path to halt the ongoing Genocide against Rohingya ethnic minority”, urges Dr. Anita Schug, head of ERC women and children’s affairs.

We urge the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to start engaging in a constructive dialogue with various Rohingya groups and to effectively listen to their concerns and demands. Only by doing so, will the OIC be able to truly speak on behalf of Rohingya Muslims around the world.

We call upon the international community to work towards a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis, and to hear the united voice of the Rohingyas who are still in Myanmar and in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Time is racing against the remaining Rohingyas in Rakhine State and every single minute lost is equivalent to the loss of a defenceless Rohingya’s life. Without justice there will be no peace for the Rohingyas.