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Crimes against Humanity in Rakhine

Published : 05 Jul 2019 08:24 PM | Updated : 03 Sep 2020 08:30 PM

The International Criminal Court prosecutor on Thursday filed a request with judges to open a formal investigation of crimes against humanity allegedly committed against Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she would like to investigate crimes of deportation, inhumane acts and persecution allegedly committed as Rohingya were driven from Myanmar, which is not a member of the global court, into Bangladesh, which is a member of the ICC, reports Daily Sabah, a Turkish pro-government national daily.

The announcement marked a significant step in efforts to deliver justice to victims of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises of recent years. ICC judges will carefully study the 146-page written request before deciding whether to authorize an investigation. Bensouda said that a preliminary probe established “a reasonable basis to believe that at least 700,000 Rohingya people were deported from Myanmar to Bangladesh through a range of coercive acts, and that great suffering or serious injury has been inflicted on the Rohingya through violating their right to return to their state of origin.”

Meanwhile, Bangladesh is earnestly seeking supports from the world community to ensure quick but peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya refugees as a further lingering of the crisis may destabilise the security of not only Bangladesh but that of the entire region as well.The Bangladesh government has continued pursuing the international community to intensify pressure on the Myanmar government to take back its national from here.

Meanwhile, Beijing on Thursday reassured Dhaka that it would try to pursue Myanmar for taking back its nationals from Bangladesh as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang held bilateral talks in China. During the talks, the Chinese premier agreed with the Bangladesh prime minister on resolving the protracted crisis fast, saying there is no doubt that it’s a big problem for Bangladesh.

Apart from China, other countries like neighbouring India, USA, Europe, Australia, Canada, and United Nations also assured Bangladesh of providing all sorts of support in forcing the Myanmar government to take their nationals. On the other hand, Rohingyas are still fleeing their homes in Rakhine, and the Myanmar authority is laying mines to obstruct their return. Myanmar has laid mines to prevent the return of the displaced Rohingyas.

Even on Thursday, Rohingyas were seen fleeing their homes to save themselves from forced starvation and deprivation of livelihood. Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district. Most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar termed as “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by the UN. Meanwhile, with uncertainty looms large over the Rohingya repatriation, crimes -- from petty thefts to drug peddling, abduction to murder -- have become a commonplace at the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

On the other hand, the Rohingyas who took shelter in the country’s Cox’s Bazar district are now living in a state of panic as many of them are also engaged in various clashes, violence, killing and raping. More than 40 people have been killed allegedly by fellow Rohingyas in the camps while many others have been abducted for ransom since August 2017 when the country saw the exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingyas, who fled atrocities in Myanmar.

A large number of Rohingyas are now roaming different upazilas of Cox's Bazar district -- like Chakaria, Cox's Bazar Sadar, Kutubdia, Moheshkhali, Pekua, Ramu, Teknaf and Ukhia. Meanwhile, a large number Rohingyas involved in Yaba trading is quite organised and ruthless. They have their spies everywhere. As a result, common Rohingyas are too scared to speak up.

As Yaba is coming from Myanmar and other neighbouring countries through a long border stretching 90 to 100 kilometres, Rohingyas along with and Bangladeshi drug peddlers travel every day by boat and some of them also carry Yaba in their stomach, along with vegetable supplies.