The lawsuit filed by Gambia on behalf of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) with the International Criminal Court for Rohingya mass killing in Rakhine state, Myanmar has brought a different kind of diplomatic challenges for the international community. Those who kept mum until now and encouraged Bangladesh to resolve the repatriation crisis bilaterally with Myanmar, have to think anew. This is clear that the regional and global superpowers’ repeated urge to resolve the crisis bilaterally remains ineffective. Their position in this regard is also questionable. Through this the tenure of Myanmar’s indemnity has been prolonged. Now we hope those countries would not be able to stick to their previous position. Some might debate about the definition of mass killing but the international community has no doubt that the crimes against humanity have taken place there.
We welcome the statement by Canada and Human Rights Watch on behalf of 10 other international non-government organisations supporting Gambia. We would hope the more powerful OIC countries would become vocal shunning their silence and evasive strategy about this, and the traditional western allies of Ottawa will follow them soon. Canada foreign minister’s statement about working with allies to ensure speedy trial is a proper call.
Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina rightly expressed her concerns in an international conference on Monday. She said the Rohingya crisis is a threat to regional security, especially to the development and security of countries around the Bay of Bengal. Gambia’s initiative substantiates Bangladesh’s diplomatic activities. Bangladesh focused to resolve the crisis bilaterally for long but the Myanmar authorities considered that as a weakness. They adopted the strategy to consume time in the name of repatriation.
We have to keep Myanmar’s lack of democracy and freedom of expression within the country in our mind. There is no chance of prejudice that the entire nation lacks humanity. It is very difficult to get a clear picture of the public opinion of the country due to its long army rules. Rohingyas are not the only ethnic group to become the victims of atrocities by Myanmar rulers. There are other ethnic groups who faced violence and have been demanding justice, too.
Myanmar citizens will also seek justice for crimes like genocide if favourable environment is ensured. They will realise that genocide, the enemy of humanity, has nothing to do with patriotism and the protection of national interests. Bangladesh must therefore be careful and cautious in implementing the procedure of genocide trial. All possible political and diplomatic efforts should be made for the trial.
We hope that all of Bangladesh’s allies, especially China, Russia and India will stand by this initiative of Gambia. OIC has to make it clear that its support to Gambia initiative is real. We have seen the support of the OIC is superficial in many cases in the past.
This is, however, an initiative that points to the basic tasks of the organisation's charter. India, China and Russia have strategic and strong commercial relations with several countries of the OIC. Therefore, as the overall diplomacy is expected by the OIC, strong government and international non-government organisations, including the United Nations, should contribute to advancing and enforcing the trial.