The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) expresses its shock and alarm at the reported massacres of the Rohingya Community of Rakhine province carried out by the Army of Myanmar.  IADL calls upon the government of Myanmar to bring an immediate halt to all such military and paramilitary actions that have all the characteristics of ethnic cleansing and could therefore constitute the crime of genocide.

The world is witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe affecting the whole  of the Rohingya population resulting in hundreds of thousands of women, children and men , fleeing to neighboring countries especially Bangladesh, for safety and refuge.

The IADL notes the existence of longstanding disputes in the Rakhine province which need to be resolved urgently. However, there can be no justification for the reported actions of the Myanmar military in attacking whole villages and slaughtering at random of thousands of innocent civilians including children.  This is the worst form of collective punishment which is specifically outlawed under international law.

IADL believes that a permanent solution to the stateless condition of the Rohingya must be addressed by the Myanmar government by following just and peaceful processes. In this regard  the fact that Rohingyas are citizens of Myanmar, must be protected under law by the Myanmar Government, as a first step. This is supported by the recommendations of the Committee led by the former UN Secretary General, Dr Kofi Annan. Moreover, the Rakhine Advisory Commission released a 63-page report stating that the Rakhine Muslim community, the Rohingya, has been exposed to serious human rights abuses, statelessness and discrimination, resulting from the protracted conflict. The report also reminds us that about 10 percent of the world’s stateless people live in Myanmar and the Rohingya population make up the single largest stateless community in the world.

The failure of the Myanmar Government to consider the recommendations of the Annan Commission Steps to resolve the crisis , strengthens the Commission’s recommendation that it is necessary to invoke a  strong UN response and to mobilize global public opinion in this regard.

Accordingly, the IADL calls upon UN bodies to take immediate diplomatic and all other necessary steps to resolve this crisis and for the protection of the lives and human rights of the Rohingya people. In addition , the IADL calls upon the UN to take all steps necessary to commence immediate investigations into the continuing gross human rights violations and acts of genocide perpetrated by violent mobs, under the watch of those in both military and political authority, with a view to referring the matter to the International Criminal Court.

Issued, September 13, 2017.