25 August 2021

Today is a most memorable day for us, for our children and for our generations to come. On this day of August 25, 2017, the Burma/Myanmar brute forces, army, police and state-sponsored non-state actors and Buddhist Rakhine vigilantes started pre-planned genocidal onslaughts against our innocent people carrying out mass murder, widespread rape, systematic arson attacks and wholesale destruction of homes and villages.  

Today we remember something that happened to us or to our communities. Similarly, we remember something that happened before 25 August 2017, and the mass atrocity crimes between 2012 to 2016 in Arakan and across the country. Today we also remember what befell our people before we were born, specifically the killing of about100,000 of our innocent people in 1942. 

Today our people, the survivors in Arakan and refugee camps, are mere ruins. We are a people without a past for it was taken away from us, and without a future. Everything is broken and our homeland is irrecoverably destroyed. 

The crimes never happen overnight. The Rohingya genocide is the last step in the continuity of destruction that began decades ago, largely from 1962 military takeover in Burma. Their aim is to destroy our people in whole or in part from our ancestral homeland to which we have physical, psychological and spiritual attachment.  

There are many testimonies of survivors. They were unarmed people caught off guard, chosen as victims solely because of their ethnicity and religion. In spite of our repeated forewarning of genocide looming over our defenceless people, there was no international response. 

Here, we are compelled to ask ourselves: how was this genocide possible at all? The answer lies in the inactivity of the international community, which according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide (1948), was obliged to act, that is to “prevent and punish” genocide. Unfortunately, still almost all governments have avoided calling the crime by its proper name –genocide—eschew their obligation from the Convention, which, ultimately, implies intervening. Encouraged by the hesitancy of the international community, the perpetrators realized their criminal policy without punishment. 

We thank the people and government of Bangladesh for sheltering and looking after our refugees on humanitarian grounds. We also appreciate the international community for their humanitarian aid. 

We are grateful to The Republic of Gambia for filing a genocide case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) with the backing of Bangladesh and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Despite Court (ICJ) Order on 23 January 2020, the Rohingya who are left behind in Arakan are under constant threat of genocide facing a great humanitarian disaster. Sponsored demographic changes are progressively made in the Rohingya Homeland of North Arakan. 

Under the present unsafe conditions, the return of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh and elsewhere to Burma will put them at risk of further crimes. The international community must not fail them again, and it has a responsibility to protect them. The UNSC should refer the criminals to International Criminal Court. This is the time for the United Nations to intervene in Arakan/Rakhine State, if necessary, by seeking global consensus. 

The punishing of crimes must be accepted as a personal moral imperative. Without embracing the responsibility for the crimes, there is no compromise with the criminals and the enemies of humanity. All perpetrators must be brought to justice.

In conclusion, today we remember and honour all those who were killed as heroes and shaheeds (martyrs). We will remember them forever. Today we also salute our female survivors, including the rape victims, for their courageous efforts to survive, even as refugee widows and orphans. The carnage is more than a tragedy. The extent of barbarity or methods employed in Arakan/Rakhine State against our people surpassed everything else that took place on the territory of Myanmar. That will not and cannot be forgotten.

For more information, please contact:
Dr Mohammad Habib Ullah
Cell, WhatsApp: +1-4438158609
Email: arno@rohingya.org/ info@rohingya.org