Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?

Photo Source Jordi Bernabeu Farrús | CC BY 2.0

There is an image engraved in our minds of a stoic, reserved, elegant Aung San Suu Kyi unbending in her struggle against Burma’s generals for democracy, and we assumed for human rights.  Last year, when the refugees streamed out of her country in the wake of atrocities, it blocked all UN agencies from delivering food, water and medicine to affected civilians; her office accused aid workers of helping terrorists.

Her iconic stature long gone, she made a public appearance the day after the International Fact-Finding Mission released its initial 20-page overview to the UN Human Rights Council on August 27, 2018.  The damning evidence of murder, rape, torture, persecution, burned villages, landmines along escape routes reported on by NGOs and news media over the past year had been confirmed.  Elegant and patrician as usual, Aung San Suu Kyi discoursed on poetry and literature.  No mention of the genocide or the UN report.  No longer an icon, there have been calls to relieve her of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The UN group criticized her for her continued refusal to condemn the genocide.  The full report detailing unspeakable horrors in its 440-page account has now been released(September 18, 2018).  What might surprise people is a simple shocking fact:  This is not the first UN report on Rohingya massacres.

On February 3, 2017, the UN issued a detailed account of the military’s operations in north Maungddaw with “the very likely commission of crimes against humanity.”  It recounted the murders, rapes and tortures that have now become the trademark of military operations against the Rohingya.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein is quoted as saying ” … what kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother’s milk.  And for the mother to witness this murder while she is being gang-raped by the very security forces that should be protecting her.”

There were no major consequences for Myanmar then and what happened the following summer was the same magnified over Rakhine state.  As a result we have 700,000 refugees, and they are still coming — “11,342 new arrivals as of mid-June this year,” Mr. Zeid has noted.

Will this time be different?  Following the UN Commission’s summary report, 160 British parliamentarians across party lines signed a petition to Prime Minister Theresa May to refer the Myanmar military to the International Criminal Court (ICC).  The UN report accuses the military of genocide, and identifies six generals, singling them out for investigation and prosecution.  They are, the senior general who heads the military, the commander of the army, and four operational commanders.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has now been authorized to begin a preliminary investigation to gather evidence before launching a full investigation.  Myanmar is not a signatory to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC but Bangladesh hosting the refugees is, thus giving the court jurisdiction.

Marzuki Darusman providing details of massacres and unmentionable atrocities said in reporting to the Human Rights Council, “I have never been confronted by crimes as horrendous and on such a scale as these.”

If the UN Security Council is to be stymied by veto — China preventing any action against Myanmar — will the ICC effort also fizzle out in practice if not in theory?  Justice remains tenuous for the weak and powerless in our world.

More articles by:

Arshad M. Khan is a former professor who has, over many years, written occasionally for the print and often for online media outlets.

October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
Ramzy Baroud
That Single Line of Blood: Nassir al-Mosabeh and Mohammed al-Durrah
Zhivko Illeieff
Addiction and Microtargeting: How “Social” Networks Expose us to Manipulation
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
What is Truth?
Michael Doliner
Were the Constitution and the Bill of Rights a Mistake?
Victor Grossman
Cassandra Calls
Ralph E. Shaffer
Could Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing Ended Differently?
Vanessa Cid
Our Everyday Family Separations
Walaa Al Ghussein
The Risks of Being a Journalist in Gaza
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal and Treachery—The Extremism of Moderates
James Munson
Identity Politics and the Ruling Class
P. Sainath
The Floods of Kerala: the Bank That Went Under…Almost
Ariel Dorfman
How We Roasted Donald Duck, Disney’s Agent of Imperialism
Joe Emersberger
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Assault on Human Rights and Judicial Independence
Ed Meek
White Victimhood: Brett Kavanaugh and the New GOP Brand
Andrew McLean, MD
A Call for “Open Space”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail