Myanmar submits official report to ICJ on Rohingya genocide; a humanitarian disaster looming in camps

Myanmar’s government submitted, this weekend, an official report to the International Court of Justice detailing how the country will prevent future acts of genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority.

The ICJ had asked in January for Myanmar to install safeguards so that widespread crimes against humanity carried about by its armed forces against the minority group does not happen again.

Myanmar’s military carried out security operations in 2017 after several outposts were attacked by separatists rebels. The military operation saw widespread abuses including systematic rape of women and children, extrajudicial killings, and the wholesale burning of Rohingya villages.

The United Nation’s Human Rights Council said that many of these instances were crimes against humanity.

As many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by security officials, over 24,000 killed while 115,000 homes were burned down, according to rights groups.

As a result of the military’s operations, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Refugees poured across the border into neighbouring Bangladesh or resettled in UN refugee camps in Sittwe, Myanmar.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government told the ICJ on Saturday that all evidence of past abuse will not be destroyed and that the government will investigate officials involved in the incidents.

Covid threat in Sittwe

Two cases of Covid-19 was found in Sittwe this weekend prompting fears that a widespread pandemic could grip the Rohingya refugee camps in the area. Around 100,000 displaced Rohingya have settled in the refugee camps around Sittwe in cramped conditions, ideal for the spread of the virus.

Rakhine’s state government said on Saturday that two men returning from Malaysia for Eid Celebrations had tested positive for coronavirus.

Cox Bazar

A potential humanitarian crisis is also looming in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh after Cyclone Amphan hit the area last week and coronavirus cases are discovered in the area.

Cyclone Amphan which made landfall in India and Bangladesh last week wreaked havoc in Bangladesh. The storm has affected more than a million people, destroying thousands of acres of farmlands and killing 26 people, according to the International Federation of the Red Cross.

The cyclone narrowly missed the Rohingya camps but storm surge and side effects could threaten water supplies and cause secondary diseases, warns the IFRC.

The refugee camps, located near Cox Bazar, houses hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees and has been on lockdown since the first coronavirus case was discovered in March.

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