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Parliamentarians from Southeast Asia urgently call on the United Nations, ASEAN, and the wider international community to take immediate action to prevent the mass killing of Rohingya who are under siege by the Arakan Army in northern Rakhine State.

“We are extremely alarmed and concerned by reports that the Arakan Army is indiscriminately attacking Rohingya civilians in northern Rakhine State,” said ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) Chair and Indonesian Member of Parliament Mercy Christy Barends today. “It is imperative that the international community acts quickly to prevent further catastrophic loss of life and potential genocide.”

According to reports received by APHR from reliable sources, Rohingya civilians in Buthidaung town and surrounding villages have been under attack from heavy weapons by the Arakan Army since Friday, May 17. According to an eyewitness, Buthidaung town was set on fire by the Arakan Army, which also forced Rohingya to leave the town. Several Rohingya houses, including the home of U Shwe Maung, APHR Board Member and former MP of Buthidaung township, were burned down. There have also been unconfirmed reports that the Arakan Army is conducting mass killings of Rohingya in Tatmin Chaung, Kyauk Phyu Taung, Letwedat Pyinshay, and Ngakyi Dauk village tracts in Buthidaung township.

Previously, in 2017, Myanmar security forces conducted a “clearance operation” in Rakhine State in which whole villages were massacred, tortured, raped, and burned – resulting in tens of thousands of deaths, as well as the displacement of over 730,000 people.

In 2019, the Gambia, backing the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), filed a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing them of violating the Genocide Convention. In January 2020, the ICJ adopted provisional orders instructing Myanmar to prevent all genocidal acts against the Rohingya. It is clear that neither the Myanmar military junta nor the Arakan Army abides by these provisional measures.

“There is no doubt that if no action is taken, countless lives will be lost, with even more people displaced from their homes, further exacerbating the refugee crisis in the region,” said Barends. “The Rohingya people have already experienced so much adversity for so long; allowing further atrocities against them to go unanswered would be an unforgivable abandonment of the principles of decency and humanity that the international community professes to uphold. We urgently call on the UN, ASEAN, ASEAN member states, and all countries that claim to value human life to take immediate action to put a stop to this barbarity.”

Rohingya Vision News