Evidence Sessions on 75 Anniversary of the Genocide Convention

I chaired an evidence session on Wednesday 18 October 2023. In the year leading to the 75th anniversary of the Genocide Convention, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, and the Coalition for Genocide Response hosted a series of Parliamentary events engaging with several issues pertaining to the implementation of the duties under the Genocide Convention and look at recent and contemporary cases of genocide.  Todays session covers the Genocide against Rohingya and Myanmar and the question of justice and accountability.  

The Rohyngya are indigenous people to the Western Rakhine State of Burma, and are predominantly Muslim. Despite their indigenous status, the Burmese Government refuses to recognise their identity as Rohingyas, labelling them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. After the events of October 2016, when nine Burmese police officers were killed by an armed militia, the situation deteriorated. The killings led to widespread, systematic, and indiscriminate attacks against Rohingya Muslim civilians. The events of October 2016 put Burma firmly onto the United Nations radar.  What followed can only be described as genocide and crimes against humanity. 

The two speakers were Tun Khin (in the main picture), co-founder and President of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, Tun was born and raised in Arakan State. His grandfather was a Parliamentary secretary during the democratic period of Burma. His mother’s grandfather was the first Judge in Northern Arakan State. Although well established and respected alongside a million other ethnic Rohingya Tun Khin is not recognised as a citizen of Burma.  Zoya Phan (left) is a Burmese political activist and Campaign Manager of the human rights organization Burma Campaign UK.  Zoya is also the author of the memoir ‘Little Daughter’, and in 2010 she was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. She was forced to flee her village after an attack by the military junta when she was just a teenager.