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Refugee International accuses Myanmar of genocide

Myanmar has been accused of genocide against the Rohingya people by the humanitarian organisation Refugees International which has called on UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This follows an order from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for Myanmar to take “all measures within its power” to prevent crimes of genocide against the Rohingya.

Whilst the ICC has launched an investigation into crimes against the Rohingya people; this investigation is limited to crimes within Bangladesh, an ICC member country. Refugee International has called for the investigation to be widened and strengthened.

Defending their accusation of genocide, Refugees International states:

“This is not a conclusion that Refugees International reaches lightly […] But the evidence of the widespread, systematic nature of the attacks on the Rohingya, and the intent reflected in the rhetoric and actions of the Myanmar military, leads inevitably to this conclusion. Nearly 900,000 Rohingya refugees remain among the most vulnerable to the looming threat of Covid-19, and another 600,000 Rohingya people face the ongoing risk of genocide inside Myanmar.”

Over a million fled in response to the military onslaught in 2016 and found shelter in, Cox’s Bazar, the largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. There are now concerns over the spread of coronavirus as the camp has an average population density approximately at least six times that of Wuhan, China.

Sudarshan Kodooru, Tearfund’s country director in Bangladesh, stated on the matter:

“Sanitation and hygiene facilities in the camp are already inadequate, and the streets are narrow and crowded; so social distancing is extremely difficult, and currently there aren’t enough hand-washing facilities”.

Tearfund is offering support to these refugee camps and communities. It has successfully installed “200 community washing facilities and giving food to those in quarantine.”

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