In marking the five-year commemoration of the genocide committed against the Rohingya in 2017, 384 civil society organisations reaffirm our commitment to continue to stand in solidarity with and seek justice for the Rohingya, to ensure the full restoration of their rights in Myanmar, and to end the impunity of the Myanmar military. The plight of the Rohingya must not be forgotten.
On this day five years ago, the Myanmar military launched a terror campaign in Rakhine State against the Rohingya and massacred, tortured, raped, and burned villages. They forced three quarters of a million people to flee to Bangladesh where they remain today alongside a quarter of a million Rohingya who fled earlier persecutions in Myanmar. Around one million Rohingya are struggling to survive in crowded refugee camps in Bangladesh, waiting to return to their home and their country in dignity with their full rights restored.
The return of Rohingya to Myanmar is substantially predicated on ending the impunity of the Myanmar military and accountability for the grave atrocity crimes the military has committed, including by prosecuting individuals who are most responsible. Yet, progress towards justice and accountability has remained minimal, made even more elusive by the military’s attempted coup on February 1, 2021.
As the military commits war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout the country, perpetrating similar crimes committed against the Rohingya in 2017 during its ‘clearance operations’, on 10 August 2022, the junta’s spokesperson for Rakhine State, U Hla Thein, told Radio Free Asia the junta is making plans to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Rakhine State – at the rate of 150 people per day starting in September 2022. This is a part of its ongoing desperate attempt to gain legitimacy from the international community. As recently expressed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights during her visit to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, “conditions are not right for returns” and "Repatriation must always be conducted in a voluntary and dignified manner, only when safe and sustainable conditions exist in Myanmar."
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Civic space in Myanmar is rated as "Repressed" by the CIVICUS Monitor.