Myanmar has again refused to accept the Rohingyas as an ethnicity, describing them as "Bengali Community" while responding to the latest US decision which announced that the Myanmar military is responsible for committing genocide against the Rohingya people in Rakhine State.
"As such Myanmar has never engaged in any genocidal actions and does not have any genocidal intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial or religious group or any other group," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar in a press release in which Myanmar described the Rohingyas as "Bengali Community."
The Myanmar Ministry reiterated that Myanmar as a party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the Statute of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the Charter of the United Nations is fully committed to respecting all the existing obligations.
"The narratives mentioned in the speech of the Secretary of State are found to be far from realities and references made were also from unreliable and unverifiable sources as well as sweeping allegations," reads the media release which was shared on its verified page.
Myanmar strongly objected and categorically rejected the remarks made by the Secretary of State of the United States of America as the contents and narratives therein are politically motivated and tantamount to interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign State.
Matthew Smith, chief executive officer at Fortify Rights, termed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's announcement "historic" for the Rohingya and all people of Myanmar and also for wider efforts to prevent and remedy genocide.
"To prevent genocide, governments must at least acknowledge it when it happens, which is precisely what the US government did today
United Nations member states should publicly acknowledge the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar and ensure that the UN Security Council refers the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC), said Fortify Rights Monday.
"It is a signalling and remarkable milestone for Rohingya victims and survivors that the US has formally determined that the violence committed against Rohingya by the Myanmar military amounts to genocide and crimes against humanity," said Zaw Win, human rights specialist at Fortify Rights.
"It has been a long-term expectation for the Rohingya community. Declaring that what happened to the Rohingya is in fact genocide should spur international accountability efforts and make it more difficult for the Myanmar military to continue its atrocity crimes."
In November 2019, the Gambia filed a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the UN's highest court, for failing to prevent or punish genocide against Rohingya Muslims. The case is ongoing.
In September 2018, the ICC granted the chief prosecutor jurisdiction to investigate and possibly prosecute the crime against humanity of forced deportation of Rohingyas to Bangladesh, as well as persecution and other inhumane acts.
Last month, Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan concluded his first visit to Bangladesh as part of the ongoing investigation.
While the ICC is investigating forced deportation, it is not yet investigating the crime of genocide against Rohingya.
And the intergovernmental organisation has not yet accepted the National Unity Government of Myanmar's declaration delegating jurisdiction of the court.
The UN Security Council members should immediately put forward a resolution to refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC, said Fortify Rights.
The UN members should also acknowledge the legitimacy of the National Unity Government of Myanmar and get fully behind its efforts to delegate jurisdiction to the court.
"Secretary Blinken's announcement is historic for the Rohingya and all people of Myanmar and also for wider efforts to prevent and remedy genocide," said Matthew Smith, chief executive officer at Fortify Rights.
"To prevent genocide, governments must at least acknowledge it when it happens, which is precisely what the US government did today."
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