A group of 10 U.S. senators including Oregon’s Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have urged Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to fully cooperate with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case brought before the court by The Gambia.
They sent a letter to Aung San Suu Kyi on December 9 which was also signed by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Todd Young (R-IN).
“We urge you to fully cooperate with the ICJ. This should include moving forward with any provisional actions that might be recommended or discussed at the ICJ,” according to the letter, a copy of which UNB received from the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry.
The senators said “Your government must also provide complete and unfettered access throughout the country to the United Nations Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar so that they may investigate all allegations of crimes under international law and other human rights violations and abuses.”
They gave an assurance of standing by Myanmar only if it chooses to take this crucial moment on the international stage to defend the human rights of the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in Burma.
However, a failure to do so means they will continue to use instruments of U.S. diplomatic power to bring the Burmese military to account for the injustices committed, they said.
The U.S. senators said a democratic and rights-respecting, inclusive Burma is the only successful path forward.
According to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, the military likely conducted “genocidal acts” against the Rohingya in 2017.
The senators mentioned the report of Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (IIFFMM), that confirmed genocidal acts, crimes against humanity, and war crimes had been conducted at the hands of the Burmese military.
It also found that “torture and ill-treatment” of suspected insurgents and sexual and gender-based violence by the Burmese military “remains a prominent feature of the conflicts in Shan and Kachin States.”
In 2017, Myanmar’s military, police and local militia burned Rohingya villages, systematically shot and killed Rohingya and committed acts of sexual violence and rape – used as a weapon of war – against women and girls.
Since August 2017, Bangladesh has received over 700,000 Rohingyas with now close to one million Rohingya living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Many are scared of repatriation as there is no guarantee for their safety if returned to Myanmar.