FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 9, 2017
[NEW YORK] Today, on the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime, the Global Justice Center warns that the promise of “Never Again” is being broken in conflicts around the world in places such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, the Central African Republic, Sudan and Myanmar.
With regard to the human rights situation of the Rohingya population in Myanmar, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights asked this week, “Can anyone can rule out that elements of genocide may be present?”
“For years, the Global Justice Center has been calling on the UN Security Council to act in light of ongoing atrocity crimes in Myanmar,” says Akila Radhakrishnan, Vice President and Legal Director the Global Justice Center. “Genocide and ethnic cleansing do not happen overnight, and in the case of the Rohingya, we have seen systematic oppression and a stripping away of their civil and political rights, including to citizenship, for years. This is nothing new-- Myanmar’s military and security forces have—for decades—engaged in horrific crimes against the country’s ethnic minorities, such as the Karen, Kachin, Shan and Rohingya, including by using rape as a weapon of war. These crimes have gone entirely unpunished, as Myanmar’s Constitution enshrines impunity for the military and is a structural barrier to justice in the country.”
The experience of ethnic groups in Myanmar is unfortunately not unique. Civil society groups in Iraq and Syria have been sounding the alarm about atrocities for years, including Daesh’s genocidal campaign against the Yazidis and other ethnic minorities. Several reports, including by the UN’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Syria concluded that Daesh is perpetrating genocide. However, justice remains elusive for the Yazidi as well. The adoption of Security Council Resolution 2379 in September 2017, creating an investigative team in Iraq, gave rise to hope for genocide survivors that justice might be underway. However, efforts to set up such a team already have been delayed by difficult negotiations on the team’s terms of reference between the UN and the government of Iraq. Meanwhile, over 3,000 Yazidi women and children remain in Daesh’s captivity and undergo daily acts of genocide.
“Today, as we commemorate the 69th anniversary of the UN Genocide Convention, we must reflect on the fact that despite the fact that the Convention sets out clear legal obligations to prevent, suppress and punish genocide, we are witnessing the total failure of the international community to take action” continues Radhakrishnan. “Yet again the world is a silent accomplice to genocide and ethnic cleansing.”
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