Rohingya women and children are seen waiting to be treated last month in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
“We (Vietnamese refugees) had to flee once when we were persecuted by our own government and find safety and a home somewhere else. It’s the exact situation Rohingya people are facing at the moment.”
Mr Habiburahman said he greatly appreciated the efforts of the Vietnamese community.
“It will help send a clear message to locals and other communities why we are trying to raise funds and who we are trying to help,” he said.
“Although the [financial] contribution of each community is important to raise public awareness, it is not enough.”
According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in 2018 Australia was the third-largest donor to the displaced Rohingya communities in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
“Australia has already provided $70 million to the crisis through Australian aid agencies and UNHCR, but financial aid serves a temporary purpose,” he said.
The UN’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, released last week, called for Myanmar’s military, which holds a quarter of all seats in the parliament, to be completely removed from politics.
The report also laid out in detail human rights violations by Myanmar’s military towards Rohingya Muslims.
“Without international [political] interference, the Burmese government will not work with the UN and we won’t see any improvement on ground for even the next 10 years,” Mr Habiburahman said.
In an interview ahead of Tuesday's release of a 400-page report on alleged "genocidal" crimes, Australian lawyer Chris Sidoti said that Nobel laureate Ms Suu Kyi could not escape responsibility for failing to act over the violence. The report, by three independent experts including Mr Sidoti, provides the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva with harrowing details of mass killings and rape by Burma's military that prompted more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh last year.
"The very first thing she could have done was not provide cover for the military by dismissing the overwhelming number of reports of mass rape as fake," Mr Sidoti said. "She could have refused to provide a fig leaf for military atrocities of the most serious kind... she has enormous moral authority, she won 80 per cent of the popular vote in the 2015 election."
Sidoti is a former Human Rights Commissioner and ex-commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission.
The presentation of the final investigation to the Swiss-based council will mark a crucial step on the long road to obtaining justice for thousands who lost their lives or their homes or who were brutalised during the merciless operation by Burmese troops.
A preliminary report released last month by Mr Sidoti, Marzuki Darusman, Indonesia's former attorney general, and Radhika Coomaraswamy, a Sri Lankan lawyer and women's rights expert, called for Burma's senior generals to be prosecuted for genocide.
Based on 875 interviews with victims and eyewitnesses plus satellite imagery, it documents the shooting and stabbing of children, the scorching of Rohingya villages and gang rape on an enormous scale. Mr Sidoti told The Daily Telegraph: "The level of trauma in the camps in Bangladesh is beyond anything I have ever seen."
Last month, the Burmese government dismissed the UN investigators' findings as "false allegations". However, the UN panel has recommended a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague as an option, which has already won support from some quarters. Last week, more than 160 British MPs signed a letter urging Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to refer Burma's military to the court.
An ICC trial was only one way to push for justice, Mr Sidoti added, explaining that other options could include a specialised criminal tribunal or an individual country exercising its rights to universal jurisdiction for crimes of this magnitude.
Tuesday's report will also remind the international community of its obligations to take action, and will explicitly include a call for a ban on arms sales and on "high level exchanges and training" with the Burmese military until it has been reconstituted.
According to Mr Sidoti, the reluctance of the international community to act sooner is "the most haunting question of all".
End Military Ties, Help Create Mechanism to Prepare Future Prosecutions
(Sydney) – The Australian government should immediately end military ties with Myanmar, Australia’s foremost international human rights and development organizations jointly said today. They called on the Australian government to impose targeted sanctions on military commanders responsible for atrocities committed against ethnic Rohingya, and to press for an international mechanism to assist future prosecutions.
As Australia commences its third session as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the government should step up and press for accountability for those responsible for grave international crimes in Myanmar, the Australian Council for International Development, Amnesty International, Human Rights Law Centre, and Human Rights Watch said.
The final report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, which recommends that Myanmar’s top military generals should be investigated for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, will be submitted to the Human Rights Council for its consideration during the Council’s 39th Session, which began on September 10, 2018 in Geneva. The report is expected to be presented on September 18.
The UN report named six high-ranking military commanders, including Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, as among those responsible for “a failure to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent and punish crimes, and a causal link between these failures and the atrocities committed.”
“Faced with such a damning report, there is no excuse for inaction,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch. “Australia needs to urgently act by ending ties with Myanmar’s military, imposing targeted sanctions on abusive generals, and pressing for justice in Myanmar.”
The four organizations called for Australia to publicly support a UN Security Council referral of the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court, and to use its seat on the Human Rights Council to sponsor a resolution to establish an International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) to preserve evidence and assist in investigations for future prosecution of those responsible for atrocity crimes in Myanmar.
“Those with blood on their hands, for the explosion of violence perpetrated by Myanmar’s security forces against Rohingya villagers across northern Rakhine State, must be held to account,” said Diana Sayed, crisis campaigns coordinator at Amnesty International Australia. “The Australian government must explore all avenues to achieve this, in particular an immediate mechanism for evidence collection and preservation for future criminal prosecutions at the International Criminal Court.”
On August 27, the UN-mandated Fact-Finding Mission issued a report that documented Myanmar security force abuses against the Rohingya population, including, but not limited to, murder, rape, and torture, and concluded that they amounted to crimes against humanity and war crimes. It also found that the systematic oppression and discrimination amounted to the crimes against humanity of persecution and possibly apartheid.
The Fact-Finding Mission report also concluded there was sufficient information to warrant prosecution of senior military officials to determine liability for the crime of genocide, and named six senior commanders. The report also detailed abuses committed by militants of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and called for them to be held to account.
On August 29, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the government “is deeply disturbed by the conclusions of the Fact-Finding Mission.” Her statement said, “Perpetrators must be held to account. We will continue to work internationally to this end, including through our position on the Human Rights Council and at the UN General Assembly.”
“Time and time again we see our government’s cruelty to refugees compromising its stance on global humanitarian emergencies,” said Daniel Webb, director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre. Webb has been attending Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva to monitor the Australian government’s role.
Since the Myanmar military’s campaign of ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State began in August 2017, several countries and multilateral institutions – including the United States, Canada, and the EU – have imposed travel and financial sanctions on several Myanmar security force commanders, units, and individuals implicated in atrocities, the vast majority in Rakhine State.
The US, UK, and EU have all taken steps to suspend military training and cooperation with the Myanmar military. While the Australian government maintains an arms embargo on Myanmar, the Department of Defence spent approximately A$400,000 in defence cooperation with Myanmar last fiscal year covering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping and English-language training. The estimate for military cooperation with Myanmar in FY2017 is A$270,000.
“The time has come for Defence Minister Christopher Pyne to end Australia’s defence cooperation with Myanmar’s military,” said Marc Purcell, CEO of ACFID. “As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Australia has a responsibility to send a strong signal that it has a zero-tolerance approach for gross human rights violations in our region, including the abhorrent use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.”
Dear Rohingya brothers and sisters, and concerned friends and organisations:
In March 2018 a summons was lodged in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court for filing seeking to charge Aung San Suu Kyi with Crimes Against Humanity for the forcible deportation of the Rohingya from Myanmar. The Attorney General of Australia refused to consent to the prosecution. The High Court of Australia will hear an application to strike out the Attorney General’s decision on 3rd October 2018.
The hearing is set for 9.30am on 3rd October at the High Court of Australia, Level 17 Commonwealth Law Courts Building, 305 William St. Melbourne Vic. The applicant feels that it is important that the Rohingya themselves, as well as concerned and interested people and organisations have an opportunity to be heard in this important matter.
Attached is the summons lodged in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, the Submission to the Attorney General, the Response of the Attorney General, and the listing date for hearing in the High Court of Australia.