August 23, 2018

One year since the pre-planned military offensive against the Rohingya, more than 1 million Rohingya now live as refugees in Bangladesh. More than half are children. Conditions in the camps are appalling, despite the efforts of UN and international aid agencies, local and international civil society groups, and the Rohingya themselves.

The international community stresses that any return should be safe, dignified and voluntary. However, the British government and most of the rest of the international community are not focusing on the two most important things to ensure safe return. These are immediate citizenship, and justice and accountability.

Immediate movement full citizenship for Rohingya should be one of the main demands of the international community. There should be no further compromises and kowtowing to the racist policies of the Burmese government on this issue.

Support for referral to the International Criminal Court is essential not only for there to be justice and accountability. Min Aung Hlaing and his military have paid no price for what they have done. Support for an ICC referral and the prospect of justice and accountability would be one of the most effective ways to start a process of ensuring safe return. As long as Min Aung Hlaing believes he can keep getting away with violating international law, he will do so, as the recent escalating conflict in Kachin state demonstrated.

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