Seventeen Shan civil society and community-based organizations spoke out this week in support of charges brought by Gambia against the Burmese state at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where Burma is accused of committing genocide against the Rohingya Muslims of Rakhine State.
The organizations released their statement on December 9; the ICJ hearings are taking place from December 10-12.
Heading up Burma’s defense is State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, who in her statement to the court on Wednesday rejected the allegations of genocide as factually misleading.
Until military impunity ends, systematic atrocities against ethnic peoples will continue. We are therefore heartened that the international spotlight is finally shining squarely on these horrors, and the wheels are turning to hold Burma’s military leaders to account, the statement read.
Sai Leng, representing the Shan State Refugee Committee on the Thai-Burma bordera signatory to the statementtold SHAN that the military violence perpetrated against the Rohingya was reminiscent of the suffering endured by the Shan particularly from the 1990s until the present.
Our Shan people also faced similar abuses and killings like the Rohingya have. We faced human rights abuses. At that time, nobody considered it, Sai Leng told SHAN. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi does not stand with the ethnic people. Ethnic people have suffered from civil war for more than 70 years. She is actively defending the case while Gambia is prosecuting Burma. I think she is standing with the Tatmadaw. Therefore, we absolutely don’t support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, he explained.
Remembering the Burma Army’s brutal Four Cuts counterinsurgency strategywhich involved cutting off food, funds, communications and recruits from ethnic armed groups but was largely experienced as the terrorizing of villagersShan youth activist Loi Kham Pan said that he wished there could also be justice internationally for these abuses.
It was really bad from 1996 to 1997, during the Four Cuts military operations in Shan State, he told SHAN. Human rights abuses occurred in Kachin, Shan, Karen and Rakhine states at that time. Is that not under consideration?
While the ICJ is preparing to rule on whether preliminary actions should be taken against Burma in the case brought by Gambia while the genocide case continues, Loi Kham Pan said that what is important is that the world will know the atrocities that the Burma Army is capable of.
At least the international community will know that human rights abuses widely occur in Burma, he said.
As Karen, Karenni, Mon and Shan communities released statements supporting the charges against the Burmese state, rallies in support of Aung San Suu Kyi were organized by the ruling National League for Democracy and government staff across Burma this week.
Source: The Shan Herald Agency for News