The international community must extend impetus for ensuring accountability for atrocity crimes committed to the Rohingya people as Myanmar’s domestic steps towards criminal prosecution was inadequate , foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque said on Wednesday.
’Impetus for accountability must come from the international community,’ he said at a public lecture at the BRAC University in Dhaka on accountability and justice for the forcibly displaced Rohingya people.
Describing Myanmar’s domestic attempts on accountability as ‘inadequate’ and ‘limited’ in terms of jurisdiction and usefulness, he said the Myanmar government was basically trying to defuse the international pressure on ensuring accountability.
Shahidul said Bangladesh would not abandon accountability path for ensuring that Rohingya crisis requires a sustainable solution.
‘A critical part of the overall sustainable solution is contingent upon accountability through application of international law in respect of atrocity crimes’ committed as individual criminal responsibility and Myanmar’s responsibility as a state, he said.
Describing the Rohingya issue as a protracted crisis for over three decades since 1978, he said installation of a ‘democratic government’ that was controlled by the military was not beneficial for the minority communities including the Rohingya people. ‘They don’t think Rohingyas as human being.’
Four essential issues – root causes of the Rohingya crisis, ensuring safety, security and livelihood, holding the perpetrators accountable, and ensuring civil and political rights – must be addressed for sustainable solution to the crisis, he said, adding that building a few physical infrastructures ‘are not enough for repatriation.’
Describing the Rohingya crisis as a political issue, the foreign secretary said Kutupalang area has become a centre of geopolitics as attention of the powerful countries are shifting to the Indian Ocean. ‘It is not a development issue.’
On a question on the possibility of third-country settlement of the victims, he said the countries that spoke about this option wanted altogether to take only 37 Rohingya people.
On the possibility of seeking compensation from Myanmar, Shahidul said it would be responsibility of the UN Security Council to take a resolution on compensation after verdicts at the ICJ.
BRAC University vice-chancellor Mohammad Tamim and the university’s Centre for Peace and Justice executive director Manzoor Hasan, also spoke on the occasion.
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