The International Criminal Court announcement that it will proceed with an investigation into crimes committed against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar -- including deportation, a crime against humanity, and persecution on grounds of ethnicity and/or religion -- is a critical step towards accountability for some of the most egregious violations of recent times. This is a landmark decision that will add pressure on those responsible, and on the international community to ensure justice is delivered.
Building on the cases filed to the International Court of Justice and in Argentina earlier this week, it seems as though the wheels of international justice have started to turn.
George Graham, Director of Children and Armed Conflict at Save the Children, said:
“The international community must step in and deliver justice where Myanmar has failed to. This week, we have seen three crucial steps taken in the right direction.
“The Gambia’s application was an important moment. A small nation has shown the leadership so far absent from the UN Security Council and wider international community. The universal jurisdiction case in Argentina is more evidence that the wheels of international justice have started turning. Crucially, the ICC’s decision is testament to the overwhelming need to investigate and prosecute the crimes which have been documented.
“The scale and intensity of violence committed against the Rohingya by Myanmar security forces demands an independent and impartial hearing in a court of law. Rohingya boys and girls were killed, raped and witnessed horrific human rights violations. Approximately half a million children have been displaced into neighbouring Bangladesh – where nearly 1 in 5 are experiencing mental distress. They are entitled to their day in court.”
David Skinner, Head of Save the Children’s Rohingya Response, speaking from Cox’s Bazar, said:
“Until steps are taken to provide the Rohingya with the protection, services, freedom of movement and citizenship they require, those who are displaced will be unable to safely return to Myanmar.
“In the meantime, the cost of global inaction on Myanmar is half a million children that continue to grow up in the camps in Cox’s Bazar where they are at further risk of violence and abuse and are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and disease outbreaks.
“First, these children were forced to flee their homes from incomprehensible violence and abuse. Then, because of the profound lack of global leadership on this crisis, Rohingya children have spent the last two years displaced and vulnerable in the camps in Cox's Bazar - a place where no child should grow up.
“The Rohingya must have justice for the crimes they have faced and the international community must act to deliver it to them as swiftly as possible.”
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