Despite preoccupation with the case of aggression by a neighbouring state against Ukraine, European Union said it remains committed to the cause of justice spearheaded by The Gambia against Myanmar, where crimes of genocide are being perpetrated by the militarily junta against the minority Muslim population of Rohingya.
Amnesty International through the groups Kanifing Municipality branch analyses that some 70, 000 people were initially affected by the hostilities in the region. That number has today risen to 700, 000. The body joined Gambia’s human rights commission, the European Union in The Gambia and other partners to observe the International Human Rights Day through this vent at Alliance Français in Banjul over the weekend.
“Rape, killing of children and women in the presence of their husbands and family members has forced the Rohingya Muslims to flee into Bangladesh for safety. The Rohingya are a minority Muslim population but their growth over the years was seen as threat by authorities in Myanmar. Through international intervention, calm is returning but it is not yet safe to return to Myanmar,” said Muhammed Hydara, Representative of Amnesty International at the Roundtable Discussion on the case of The Gambia against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
As a result of the scale of mass targeted massacre of the Rohingya Muslims, The Gambia government took the lead in bringing the case against Myanmar at the UN inter-state justice mechanism, the ICJ.
The Gambia was chair to the OIC inter-ministerial committee on Human Rights at the time this case came to the attention of the world’s second biggest state-based member organisation after the UN. With the support of the OIC, the case was filed against Myanmar and preliminary hearings led a UN Security Council to pass resolution against the perpetrators of this genocide to exercise restraint and answer for crimes filed by The Gambia against them in the ICJ. It was satisfied ro have violated the 1948 UN Convention Against Genocide signed by both The Gambia and Myanmar.
So what’s the European Union doing about this case? Ambassador Corrado Pampaloni, was among the speakers at the Roundtable Discussion held in commemoration of International Human Rights Day over the weekend. “We also condemn the case of Myanmar, where Rohingya minority Muslims have been suffering [similar] fate of mass murder, rape of women, killing and burning of children and about 100 journalists becoming casualties during the conflict,” the diplomat said.
Europe’s position on Human rights date back to the formation of the EU and had since then succeeded in ridding Europe of war, explained the Ambassador. Even when their attention is primarily focused on a similar case of aggression in Europe’s neighbourhood, the EU remains committed to the case of Rohingya at the ICJ.
“We are helping out in gathering evidence, visiting families of victims, through which more than three million pieces of evidence have so far been collected from the exercise, just to strengthen the case of The Gambia against the Myanmar military junta,” he said.
Refugee camps are not also in the best of conditions in Bangladesh where Rohingya refugees are based. Europe, despite being grateful to this host country for this, is also helping them manage the situation of the refugees in Bangladesh.
“The second biggest donor helping the Rohingya after the US is the European Union. EU suspended cooperation with the government of Myanmar, cuts off aid and imposed sanctions against the military junta. We are funding the refugee camps in Bangladesh; providing support to the judicial process at the ICJ, helping with the investigations into crimes of genocide and tabling the motion of the resolution at the UN against the perpetrators of the horrible crimes,” the diplomat said.
Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Emmanuel Joof described it as "symbolic” for The Gambia to take Myanmar to the international court of justice for these crimes of massacre and genocide. “This is upholding the human rights legacy of founding President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara. The Gambia shows to the whole world today that international human rights law is not just a domain of the rich and the powerful,” he said.
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