New Report: Preventable deaths in Cyclone Mocha and the Rohingya genocide

Media Release from Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK

For Immediate Release
25 May 2023

New Report: Preventable deaths in Cyclone Mocha and the Rohingya genocide

Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) today published its latest report ‘Preventable deaths in Cyclone Mocha and the Rohingya genocide’, on the Burmese junta’s continued defiance of the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Gambia’s genocide case against Myanmar. The order is aimed at protecting the Rohingya, who the ICJ described as ‘extremely vulnerable’. Until the case concludes, Myanmar is obliged to report on its compliance with the ICJ’s order every six months, with its latest report due on 23 May 2023.

On 14 May, Cyclone Mocha struck Myanmar’s Rakhine State, leaving a trail of destruction. BROUK’s new report examines the circumstances which led to the preventable deaths of hundreds of Rohingya in Cyclone Mocha, in the context of the ongoing Rohingya genocide. Hundreds of Rohingya have been killed and injured after Rohingya were left behind in internment camps in Rakhine State. To date, the junta continues to block vital humanitarian aid from reaching impacted Rohingya communities. 

“In the context of the regime’s policies of persecution towards the Rohingya, what the United Nations describes as ‘waiting for access’ is genocide right in front of our eyes,” said Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK.

The report focuses on the regime’s ongoing commission of the genocidal act of ‘deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the destruction of a group in whole or in part’, in this case the Rohingya. The authorities instigated and participated in the 2012 violence which forcibly displaced more than 140,000 Rohingya, then detained them in overcrowded, flood-prone internment camps surrounded by barbed wire where they have remained for over a decade. The junta’s response to Cyclone Mocha was willfully negligent. The regime failed to evacuate all the Rohingya who were in danger from the cyclone and has blocked humanitarian aid. 

BROUK points out that the regime’s obstruction of humanitarian aid may cause additional preventable deaths among extremely vulnerable Rohingya survivors. The Rohingya community in Thet Kay Pyin camp in Sittwe are already reporting an outbreak of diarrhoea among children in the camp due to unclean water sources, which can quickly spread and prove fatal if left untreated.

BROUK’s report finds that the Burmese military are continuing to violate the provisional measures ordered by the ICJ amid an ongoing genocide. The British government, penholder on Myanmar at the United Nations Security Council, has not yet convened a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the violation of the provisional measures. 

“The International Court of Justice and the UN Security Council are fully aware that the Burmese military are violating the provisional measures but are not even talking about it, let alone taking action,” said Tun Khin. “What was the point of imposing provisional measures to prevent genocide if there are no consequences if they are ignored? This sets a dangerous precedent that will be watched by authoritarian regimes worldwide. We don’t just have ongoing genocide of the Rohingya, we also have ongoing failure of the United Nations Security Council and the rest of the international community to do anything about it.”

BROUK urged the British government and the wider international community to secure public hearings at the UN Security Council on the junta’s breaches of the ICJ’s order and to coordinate concrete follow-up actions.  BROUK also renewed its calls to the ICJ to amend or issue further provisional measures to order Myanmar to allow all humanitarian actors immediate, unrestricted, and sustained access to Rakhine State and the rest of the country. This would benefit not only Rohingya survivors of Cyclone Mocha, but all the people of Myanmar who are suffering due to the regime’s obstruction of humanitarian aid. 

The Burmese military are violating the provisional measures in many other ways, including through denial of the Rohingya identity and citizenship, restrictions on travel and access to essential services, and deliberate blocking of humanitarian assistance, leading to mental and bodily harm and preventable deaths. The junta criminalises and imprisons Rohingya who attempt to flee these appalling conditions of life, including children. The report concludes that the proactive attempts by the junta to prevent the Rohingya from escaping the conditions of life inflicted on them demonstrate its ongoing genocidal intent.

For more information, contact Tun Khin on +44 7888714866

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