Updated: August 25, 2021 09:54 AM GMT
Members of the Rohingya Muslim minority at the Thet Kay Pyin camp in Sittwe, Rakhine state, Myanmar, in June 2021. (Photo: AFP)
Myanmar’s shadow government and civil society groups have called for justice and accountability on the fourth Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day.
Solidarity and sympathy marked the grim occasion on Aug. 25 recalling the Rohingya exodus from the Southeast Asian country following the military crackdown in 2017.
The outbreak of genocidal violence in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state drove hundreds of thousands of ethnic Muslims from their homes to refugee camps in Bangladesh.
“It is important to bring the perpetrators to account in the interest of truth and justice … because we believe doing so will act as a deterrent against future atrocities,” Myanmar’s shadow government, the National Unity Government (NUG), said in a statement.
The NUG — a group of ousted politicians, activists and representatives from ethnic minority groups — reaffirmed that the voluntary and safe repatriation of Rohingya people in a dignified manner remains its utmost priority.
It acknowledged the horrendous violence, gross human rights violations and massive displacement that Rohingya suffered four years ago.
Oppressed Rohingya women’s cause is our cause. We will fight against the rapist army with our women’s glory
Several civil society organizations and women's rights groups expressed their solidarity with the Rohingya and called for an immediate referral of Myanmar’s military junta to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure justice for the victims and survivors.
Young women took to the streets in Mandalay, the country's second-largest city, holding banners that declared: “Oppressed Rohingya women’s cause is our cause. We will fight against the rapist army with our women’s glory.”
Women groups also launched a “We Apologize” campaign in solidarity with the oppressed minority of their country.
The delayed refugee repatriation question and the military coup in Myanmar have complicated the situation even as proceedings against Myanmar and its leaders are underway at the ICC and a court in Argentina.
Both the military and the former civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi have refused to recognize the term “Rohingya,” implying that the ethnic Muslims are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, though they have lived in Myanmar for decades.
In June, the NUG urged the Rohingya to join it in fighting the military that seized power on Feb. 1. Attitudes toward Rohingya inside Myanmar, especially in the Bamar-majority regions, have changed dramatically after the brutal crackdown by the military since the coup.
Minority groups including the Rohingya, Kachin, Karen, Kayah and Chin have faced oppression and persecution at the hands of Myanmar’s military rulers for more than five decades.
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