Rohingya crisis Current Affairs - 2019
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Malaysia has ratified the Rome Statute making it the 124th State party to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Even though Malaysia had helped to negotiate the Rome Statute, it has been long been reluctant to ratify it. Ratification after 20 years is seen as a welcome move.
Why Malaysia has acceded to the Rome Statute after 20 years?
- The downing of flight MH17 and the Rohingya crisis have focused Malaysia’s attention on the ICC.
- After the election of Mahathir Mohamad for his second stint as Prime Minister in May 2018, there has been a significant shift in the relationship between the Malaysian government and monarchy. The earlier reluctance to ratify the Rome Statute has largely stemmed from a concern that the King, as the head of the armed forces could be held responsible for crimes committed by those under his command Mahathir’s relationship with the Sultans and the King is notoriously tense. During his first period as prime minister (1981-2003), Mahathir “stripped the sultans of their power to veto state and federal legislation”, removed their legal immunities, and established a special court to prosecute royal cases.
- The election of Mahathir and appointment of a new Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, has seen the main legal obstacles to ratification removed.
- The ratification has also stemmed from ambition to see Malaysia playing a more active role in ASEAN and the United Nations.
International Criminal Court established by Rome Statute is a permanent international court with jurisdiction over those most responsible for committing the most serious human rights crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.
Tags: crime of aggression. • crimes against humanity • flight MH17 • genocide • Human right crimes • ICC • International Criminal Court • Malaysia • Malaysian Monarchy • Rohingya crisis • Rome statute • War Crimes
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has floated a five-point peace proposal at United Nations to find a permanent solution to Rohingya crisis. She called for immediate steps to end ethnic cleansing of Rohingya minority as it has deepened crisis along Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar where over 430,000 refugees fleeing violence in Rakhine State since August 2017.
- Myanmar must stop violence and practice of ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State unconditionally, immediately and forever.
- UN Secretary General should immediately send fact-finding mission to Myanmar.
- All civilians, irrespective of religion and ethnicity, must be protected in Myanmar. For this, safe zones can be created inside Myanmar under UN supervision.
- Sustainable return of all forcibly displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh to their homes in Myanmar
- Recommendations of Kofi Annan Commission Report must be implemented immediately, unconditionally and entirely.
According to UN estimates, over 450000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state into Bangladesh since August 2017 when a fresh wave of violence had erupted Myanmar’s Rakhine province. The violence had started after Rohingya militants belonging to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (also known as Harakat al-Yaqeen or Faith Movement) had attacked police posts in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. Following this attack, Myanmar’s military had launched violent crackdown on insurgents from Muslim Rohingya population which led to mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims into neighboring Bangladesh.
Rohingya is ethnic Muslim minority group, largely comprising Muslims living primarily in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state. They practice a Sufi-inflected variation of Sunni Islam. They differ from Myanmar’s dominant Buddhist groups religiously, ethnically and linguistically.
They speak Bengali dialect, as opposed to commonly spoken Burmese language in Myanmar. Myanmar considers Rohingya’s as illegal Bengali immigrants, despite fact that many they have resided in Rakhine province of Myanmar for centuries.
Myanmar government refuses to grant them citizenship status, and as a result they do not have any legal documentation, effectively making them stateless. They are also restricted from freedom of movement, state education and civil service jobs. UN has often described Rohingyas as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.