Rohingya Crisis

Rohingya Crisis

Author: Alagappan. N, School of law, SASTRA Deemed University


A military crackdown against the Rohingya ethnic group has driven many people from their homes in Myanmar. Rohingya people have faced systematic discrimination over decades, statelessness and targeted violence in Rakhine state, Rohingya people faced many violent attacks. Women and small girls were gang-raped and men were brutally attacked. Most of the people who escaped were severally traumatized after witnessing unspeakable atrocities. Such maltreatment has forced Rohingya women, girls, boys, and men went to go to Bangladesh for many years following violent attacks in 1978, 1991-1992, and again in 2016. Those people who moved from Myanmar have found a temporary shelter in Cox’s bazaar which is now the World’s largest refugee camp.


Rohingya are an ethnic community mostly consists of Muslims They were never accepted as legal citizens of the states and were treated as foreign residents. Though they have been living in South East Asian countries for centuries people of Myanmar consider them as people who migrated in colonial rule. So it has not granted Rohingya’s full citizenship. The Rohingya speak Rohingya or Ruiangga’s which distinct dialect to other languages in Myanmar . They are not considered as country’s 135 official ethnic groups and have been denied citizenship in Myanmar since 1982, which has effectively rendered them as Stateless.[1] Rohingya’s in Myanmar are not allowed to go without the Government permission According to 1982 BURMESE CITIZENSHIP LAW, Rohingya’s are considered as citizens only if he/she proves that his/her ancestors have lived in this country before 1823. Else they are classified as “associate citizens”.[2]


The military committed serious human rights violations including war crimes in Rakhine. Restrictions on the Right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly continued. The universal declaration of Human Rights is one of the most important instruments for safeguarding the Human rights of citizens. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights states that “Everyone has right to Nationality” It is an accepted norm by the law of nations, scholars that state offers domestic and international protection, and access to rights solely to voters. This position has been forwarded within the 1961 convention on the rights of unsettled or stateless. 1961 convention is the leading international instrument that sets rules for conferral and non-withdrawal of citizenship to prevent cases regarding statelessness. To prevent statelessness, states may either grant Nationality to persons by birth or by application, this conclusion is supported by Article 15 of Universal Declaration of Human rights states that every citizen is entitled to rights and freedom enlisted within the article and no persons should be violated among their Human rights. Thus all states must safeguard Human rights even though they are not citizens of the country.


Article IX of the Genocide Convention explicitly provides that any disputes between states that have agreed to follow the convention should be resolved by ICJ. This jurisdictional clause relates to any dispute on the “interpretation, application, or fulfillment” of the Convention. Since both the Gambia and Myanmar are parties to the Genocide Convention should be resolved by ICJ. 

Myanmar military known as Tatmadaw has committed extensive atrocities against Rohingya people that brutal attack and gang rape. These atrocities have been increased during the Tatmadaw brutal ethnic cleansing campaign. Gambia has filed a case before the INTERNATION COURT OF JUSTICE alleging that Myanmar atrocities against Rohingya people, The Gambia, which ratified the convention in 1978, brought the case under article 9 of the convention, which allows for disputes between parties “relating to the responsibility of a State for genocide”[3]

The Gambia asked the court for “provisional measure”. Among the provisional measures, Gambia has requested the court as a matter of “extreme urgency” are that Myanmar should take immediate measures to prevent all Genocidal attacks[4] and Myanmar should ensure that the military does not commit any attacks. After many years International Court of Justice has ordered the government of Myanmar to take immediate measures to prevent further acts of Genocide.


Myanmar is not a party to the Rome statute that established ICC, but its neighbor Bangladesh has accepted court jurisdiction. Rohingya case involves crimes falling within the jurisdiction of ICC, particularly the crimes against humanity of deportation, and perpetrated against the Burmese Rohingya population that ended in Bangladesh, even though it has started in Myanmar.  So “universal jurisdiction” enables investigation that occurred within Myanmar and most importantly Genocide. According to Article 12 chapter, VII of the united nations charter ICC will have jurisdiction to prosecute the national of any state including non-state parties These alleged war crimes and offenses violate article 7(1)(a)(b)(e)(f)(g) article 8(2)(a)(i),(iii),(iv) and article8(2)(b)(i),(xxvi) of the Rome statute. The international criminal court has ruled it can prosecute Myanmar for alleged crimes against humanity against the Rohingya people, an unparalleled decision that could expose the country’s politicians and military leaders to charge

“We have to take care of our citizens. We have to take care of everybody who is in our country, whether or not they are our citizens.”[5]







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