Exchange to Change January 2018 E2C January 2018 web | Page 8

8 INTERVIEW situation yourself? Eva: Genocide is a legal term coined after the Second World War and implies the intent to destroy a group of people, in whole or in part. Genocide is a strong term that forces the international community to act and protect the persecuted group. Ethnic cleansing, on the other hand, is not a legal concept. It stands for the expulsion of a group of people from a territory. For the purpose of my dissertation, I compared several well-known genocides of the twentieth century and studied the Genocide Convention, which is the most authoritative document under international law when it comes to the crime of genocide. I eventually concluded that the violence committed against the Rohingya people must be deemed a genocide. Given that you conclude that the violence should be considered a genocide, would it be possible to bring this to the International Court of Justice in The Hague? Eva: Whether the case of the Rohingya people can be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a complicated issue. Myanmar is no state party to the ICC. However, the situation could be referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council (SC). Unfortunately, the SC’s permanent members are rather reluctant to act up against the Buddhist majority of Myanmar. More specifically, China has important economic and political interests in Myanmar and therefore vetoes any meaningful action by the SC. For example, the SC recently failed to issue a unanimous resolution to condemn the violence against the Rohingya people (6 November 2017). China opposed it because E xchange to change J anuary 2018 resolutions of the SC are legally binding. Therefore, the resolution was turned into a mere presidential statement, which also goes on the formal record of the SC, but does not have the same legal value as a resolution. Considering that the SC is unable to issue a resolution, it is highly unlikely that it will be able to refer the situation to the ICC. What is your opinion about the current reception of ‘Rohingya refugees’ in your country, Bangladesh? What do you see as positive elements? Which challenges need to be overcome? Juel: Bangladesh has received approximately 600,000 forcefully displaced Myanmar citizens since 25 August 2017. Most of the people of Bangladesh have expressed their support to the government and extended their hands to the refuge-seeking Rohingyas from a humanitarian mindset. The people here recalled the situation of the 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh when more than 10 million people took refuge in India. Bangladesh has been working on its agenda which is simply to create international pressure on Myanmar so that the refuge-seeking Rohingyas can be repatriated to their homeland. I personally support this position of Bangladesh. I believe that a strong diplomatic effort can bring this crisis to an end. The only positive element I can see in receiving the refuge-seeking Rohingyas is that Bangladesh has shown its utmost humanity towards the victims of ruthless human rights violations, the forcefully displaced Myanmar citizens, and provided them refuge. However, the challenges are many. Bangladesh is a densely populated country. The refuge seeking Rohingyas have been accommodated in two sub-districts of Cox’s Bazaar. The number of local citizens living in the areas is 300,000. The refugees outnumber the local people. Moreover, in 2017, Bangladesh experienced two severe floods and thereby damage to crops and other resources. Therefore, it has been difficult for Bangladesh to meet the basic needs of its own population, including these refugees. Through different assessments including one by Transparency International Bangladesh, more challenges have emerged, including the management of relief funds, environmental degradation, health hazards, price increases, potential risks of communal conflicts, militancy, sex trade, trafficking, etc. W