The fate of the unfortunate Rohingya Muslims forcefully driven out of their own country Myanmar to Bangladesh and those still living there is still uncertain. As per a United Nations' (UN) fact-finding team's report presented on October 24, 2018 at the Security Council calling for the matter to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), genocide is still going on against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims. According to the chair of the UN fact-finding mission on Myanmar, Marzuki Darusman, thousands of Rohingyas are still fleeing to Bangladesh. The estimated 250,000 to 400,000 Rohingya Muslims who have stayed following August 25, 2017 brutal military campaign in the Buddhist-majority country continue to suffer the most severe restrictions and repression. It is an ongoing genocide that is taking place at the moment. Darusman said the requirements for genocide, except perhaps for killings, continue to hold for Rohingyas still in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state. These include causing serious bodily harm, inflicting conditions designed to destroy the Rohingyas and imposing measures to prevent births.
But Myanmar Ambassador to the UN Hau Do Suan called the fact-finding mission "flawed, biased and politically motivated" and said Myanmar government "categorically rejects" its inference of "genocidal intent". Nearly 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims, driven away from their homes in neighboring Myanmar, are living in squalid camps in the southeastern Bangladeshi district of Cox's Bazar. Of them, more than 700,000 crossed the border into Bangladesh after Myanmar launched a brutal military crackdown in August 25, 2017 in response to alleged insurgent attacks on security posts in northern Rakhine State. Myanmar has rejected accusations that its military committed atrocities in the crackdown last year 2017 that forced 720,000 Rohingyas to flee over the border to Bangladesh.
According to Darusman, the conflict has also seen some 390 villages destroyed and 10,000 Rohingyas killed. He warned that the conditions are not in place for a safe, dignified and sustainable return of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh, to Myanmar. So any such attempt would just risk more deaths and repressions. Myanmar's internal inquiries have "proven to be ineffective failures" so far. The UN-backed investigators presented a report in September 2018 that painted a grim picture of crimes against Rohingyas. The report found that certain members of the Myanmar army have participated in genocide against Rohingya Muslims, many of who fled to neighboring Bangladesh.
The 444-page United Nations fact-finding report has called the crimes committed by the Myanmar army "the gravest crimes under international law". Referring to previous UN reports, the report listed similar actions taken by the Myanmar army and government in the past against the Rohingyas. According to UN figures, Rohingya Muslims are the most persecuted minority in the world. And they continue to suffer from oppression under the Myanmar government, the army and Buddhist extremists. Over the past decade thousands of Rohingyas have been killed since violence broke out in 2008. That caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homeland for Bangladesh, Malaysia and other countries in the region.
It is known, although the numbers are contested, that thousands of Rohingyas have been killed in the last few years. And more than million Rohingyas had to flee the country. Rohingya villages have been set on fire by the Myanmar army, bulldozing many of them and even uprooting trees and farms to make the area uninhabitable and unfit for the return of Rohingyas. The international community needs to force Myanmar to make congenial conditions for their return to homeland at the earliest.
Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General Education Cadre.
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