Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government (NUG) has called on international organizations to support their endeavours to achieve justice and peace for the country’s persecuted Rohingya ethnic minority.
In a statement published on Thursday to mark the fifth anniversary of the Myanmar military’s brutal clearance campaign against the Rohingya in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the NUG said it is pursuing three concurrent actions for the Rohingya community.
These are establishing conditions to support the repatriation of the Rohingya community, many of whom fled to Bangladesh in 2017, securing justice and accountability, and delivering equality to all persons in law and practice. In June 2021, the NUG declared that the Rohingya have full citizenship rights in Myanmar.
But these actions face significant obstacles as they are contingent on the return of democracy, the ending of atrocities and the inevitable defeat of the terrorist junta, said the NUG.
The civilian government added that, ultimately, the people of Myanmar will prevail and that the three commitments are a core part of the future envisaged by the Federal Democracy Charter – a nation founded on peace, justice, equality, unity, human rights and the protection of minorities, the statement said.
“We urge international organisations to deliver tangible means of support and work together with the NUG and all stakeholders in our endeavours to bring justice and peace for the Rohingya community,” it said.
The NUG also expressed great shame over the historic exclusionary and discriminatory policies, practices and rhetoric against the Rohingya and other ethnic groups, which laid the groundwork for the Myanmar military to escalate its atrocities.
Over 700,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine State for neighboring Bangladesh in 2017, after the military launched a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in the region. Those who fled said that the Rohingya were subjected to extrajudicial killings, rapes and arson attacks by security forces. UN investigators said that the operation had “genocidal intent”.
Currently, the military’s clearance operation is the subject of a genocide case brought by Gambia at the International Court of Justice, which rejected the military regime’s objections in July and allowed the case to proceed.
An investigative report by the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, an independent war crimes investigator, identified junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and other top generals as being responsible for the clearance campaign against the Rohingya.
The NUG said that a historic culture of impunity has since enabled the Myanmar military to commit countrywide atrocities.
Since last year’s coup, a further million or more civilians have been displaced in Myanmar. Many villages have been bombed and shelled, unknown numbers of homes have been torched and new massacres have taken place, said the NUG.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday that Washington remains “committed to advancing justice and accountability” for the Rohingya and all the people of Myanmar.
On Thursday, the United Kingdom announced that it has sanctioned three more military-linked businesses including one which the coup leader’s son is a director of.
The junta’s foreign ministry released a statement strongly condemning and rejecting the statements of the United Nations Secretary General, the European Union and western countries on the fifth anniversary of the operation against the Rohingya, saying their statements lacked authenticity, were one-sided and interfered in the internal affairs of Myanmar.