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GAMBIA: US SHARES ROHINGYA GENOCIDE INFO WITH THE GAMBIA FOR INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE CASE

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Forwarded by: Salieu Njie

Uzra Zeya, US under secretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights, has said that Washington has shared information with The Gambia in connection with the case it brought against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the atrocities committed against Rohingya.

  • Bangladesh hosts over 1 million Rohingya refugees
  • US provided over $2.1 billion for Rohingyas since 2017

“Our work is not just humanitarian, we also must move towards accountability,” she said at an event commemorating the six years since the start of the horrific genocide against Rohingya by the Myanmar military in 2017.

“We also provide support to the UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, which has a mandate to collect, consolidate, preserve, and analyze evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Burma since 2011,” she said.

“US support includes providing the mechanism with $2 million of funding to strengthen its ability to conduct open-source investigations and to protect witnesses and victims.”

“We are not alone in seeking accountability.  On Wednesday, we joined 12 other nations on the UN Security Council in a joint statement calling out the continued, unrelenting violence perpetrated by the military regime.  This statement called on the regime to restore the rights of the Rohingya and served to keep high-level focus on your plight,” she said.

Also on Wednesday, the United States expanded its Burma-related sanctions authorities to include any foreign individual or entity operating in the jet fuel sector of Burma’s economy and designated two individuals and three entities under this authority.

“This expansion follows US sanctions actions already taken this year that designated Burma’s Ministry of Defense, its two largest regime-controlled banks, the Ministry of Energy, and other individual military-affiliated cronies.  We will continue to use our sanctions authorities to deprive the military regime of the resources that enable it to oppress its people and urge others to take similar accountability measures,” she said.

“Justice for victims is also crucial.  The United States coordinates with international partners and NGOs to support the Rohingya courageously seeking justice in the courts of Argentina for the atrocities committed against them.

“We actively work with civil society and members of the Rohingya community to document the atrocities and other abuses committed against them.  We stand ready to support a holistic transitional justice process to address the long history of atrocities once such a process becomes viable to respect the demands of victims and survivors for truth, reparation, justice, and non-recurrence,” Uzra Zeya added.

She said Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s determination in March 2022 that members of Burma’s military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya was a historic occasion.  This marked only the eighth time the United States has come to such a critical conclusion.

“But, acknowledging the genocide was the first step, not the last.  We all must take the next steps together to bring an end to the violence and prevent the recurrence of atrocities.  We must take into account the needs of survivors, including creating the conditions to enable refugees’ safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable return.

“We must address the military’s continued impunity for human rights abuses.  And, we must support the fight for justice for those who have suffered.  Taking these steps is how we can ensure a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Burma that respects the human rights of all,” she said.

Over the course of 2016 and 2017, Myanmar’s military brutally attacked Rohingya communities.

Systematic acts of violence, including torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and mass killings, led to large-scale displacement and loss of thousands of innocent lives.

They targeted one of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations in Myanmar, forcing over 740,000 Rohingya to seek refuge in Bangladesh.

The rippling impact of those attacks continues today – six years later, the under secretary said.

Bangladesh hosts over one million Rohingya refugees.

She recalled her visit to Bangladesh in July when she met with Rohingya refugees, who shared personal stories of the horrific violence they and their families endured in Burma and the fear of continued persecution that prevented their return.

In terms of providing assistance, the United States is the leading single donor of life-saving humanitarian assistance to this cause.

“We have provided more than $2.1 billion to assist those affected by the crisis in Burma, Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the region since 2017,” she said.

“Recognizing that Rohingya cannot safely return to their homeland of Burma under current conditions, resettlement is another important way in which we contribute.  Since 2009, the United States has warmly welcomed nearly 13,000 Rohingya from the region, including from Bangladesh.”

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