OIC seeks more fund from members to fight ICJ cases

5-member team visits Kutupalong, Bhasan Char Rohingya camps

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published: 20:11, Feb 28,2021 | Updated: 00:35, Mar 01,2021


The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Sunday urged its 57 member-countries to provide a greater financial support to maintain the expenses involving the cases at the International Court of Justice over the atrocities committed to the Rohingya people of Myanmar.

‘The OIC is engaged at the International Court of Justice to ensure some justice for crimes committed against the Rohingya people,’ OIC assistant secretary general Youssef Aldobeay said after visiting the Kutupalong Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar on Sunday.

 ‘I call on all the member-countries to support financially...keeping in consideration the humanitarian dimensions of the matter,’ he added.

He has iterated the OIC stance on ensuring a sustainable return of the Rohingya people with full rights and dignity to their home in Rakhine of Myanmar.

The OIC has been monitoring the political situation in Myanmar since the military coup that might impact Rohingya interests in that country, he further said.

Youssef Aldobeay is leading a five-member delegation in an official visit to Bangladesh to see the situation of forcibly displaced Rohingya people on the ground.

The delegation visited the Bhasan Char island in Noakhali earlier on the day, where more than 10,100 Rohingyas have been relocated as part of Bangladesh’s move to decongest the camps in Cox’s Bazar.

The team also spoke to several dwellers at both Bhasan Char and Kutupalong camps.

Mohammad Rafiq of the Kutupalong camp said, ‘We want to go back to our homeland in Myanmar with full rights, dignity and safety.’

Monwara of the same camp said, ‘I want to return home to live there with no racial discrimination.’

She also demanded justice for the atrocities committed to them in Myanmar only because of their Muslim identity.

Fatema Khatun, another camp inmate, said that her family fled the atrocities in Rakhine to the Kutupalong camp in 2017.

Her family has voluntarily relocated to Bhasan Char for a safer life, she said.

Foreign ministry directors general M Delwar Hossain, Wahida Ahmed and Samia Anjum, among others, accompanied the OIC delegation in the trip.

The OIC extended support to The Gambia, a Muslim-majority West African nation, for lodging cases with the International Court of Justice accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against its ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority. 

Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Turkey and the Islamic Solidarity Fund have so far made initial commitments to providing a total of US$1.2 million for The Gambia’s legal battle for the Rohingyas at the ICJ.

The country needs approximately US$ 5 million, mainly to pay the lawyers to run the case as it has hired a reputable US-based law firm to help in the case.

At least 8,60,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, have entered Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by the Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations has denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning on August 25, 2017.

The latest Rohingya influx has taken the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to over 1.1 million, according to estimates by UN agencies and the Bangladesh foreign ministry.

Not a single Rohingya has gone back to their home in Rakhine yet as the Myanmar government has stalled the repatriation process resorting to various means.

Among other things, the Myanmar government has almost discontinued clearing names of the refugees eligible to return to their homeland and is showing an unwillingness to hold meetings of the bilateral joint working group and of the tripartite mechanism led by China.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email