American Jewish World Service (AJWS) urges justice for all ethnic minorities who have suffered under the Burmese military
Tracey Gurd, Senior Director of Civil and Political Rights and Advocacy for American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading global Jewish human rights organization, issued the following statement as the International Criminal Court authorized investigation into the alleged crimes committed against the Rohingya people.
Forceful challenges to the role of Burma (Myanmar) in fomenting genocide against the Rohingya people started on November 11, as Gambia filed a significant case against Burma at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for violating the Genocide Convention; on November 13, a prominent Rohingya activist, Tun Khin and the former Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, filed a universal jurisdiction case in Argentina against the Burmese military and members of the government for committing crimes against the Rohingya people; and on November 14, the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorized an investigation into crimes against Rohingya people.
“We are deeply gratified that Rohingya activists and their supporters worldwide have made this a pivotal week in the long pursuit of justice and accountability for the Rohingya people. After years of delay, Burma (Myanmar) now is being legally challenged and held to account in several international courts for its state-sanctioned campaign of violence, rape, murder and other atrocities committed against Rohingya people.
We applaud the courageous effort of Rohingya activists who led the campaign to hold Burma accountable for the unspeakable crimes committed against their community. The legal actions taken around the world against Burma this week mark a crucial step towards justice. The cases send a resounding message to Burma: the global community will not stay silent in the face of genocide. Burma cannot hide from its obligation to address this crisis. The country’s government and military must accept responsibility for the crimes it committed.
We believe that the fight for justice cannot stop here. We must not forget that the military continues to haunt the hills of Shan and Kachin States, violating human rights of ethnic minorities throughout Burma. The Burmese generals need their day in court to account for all these horrific crimes.
As the leading global Jewish human rights organization, we call on the international community—especially all governments that care about human rights and the rule of law— to stand with the Rohingya people and Burma’s other ethnic minorities to bring an end to impunity.”
About American Jewish World Service’s work in Burma
For more than 17 years, AJWS has supported the human rights of ethnic minorities in Burma, including the Rohingya people. AJWS provides direct financial support to more than 30 human rights organizations in Burma that have been working to advance the rights of minority ethnic groups and to create a truly pluralistic and democratic society. Please read more about our work in Burma here.
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