A Rohingya advocacy group on Tuesday hit out at a Myanmar government-backed commission report that denied there was any genocide of the persecuted community.
In a statement, Europe-based Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) slammed the findings of Myanmar’s Independent Commission of Enquiry that there is “no” or “insufficient” evidence to establish the genocidal intent behind Myanmar’s destruction of the Rohingya community.
Nay San Lwin, the co-founder of the group, said: "This is yet another Myanmar commission set up to deny and dismiss credible findings of the decades-long and ongoing genocide of our Rohingya people.”
The so-called independent commission is headed by a Rosario Manalo, a former deputy foreign minister of the Philippines.
“The commission has not established facts, but merely handed over a thick pack of lies, distortions and denial for Myanmar’s use at various international tribunals,” Nay said.
The findings of the commission were released just as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to announce on Thursday its ruling on a case filed by Gambia against Myanmar on the persecution of the Rohingya.
Gambia last November filed a genocide lawsuit against Myanmar at the UN's highest court, a move described as a "historic achievement" by the Rohingya community.
The statement said that the findings of the government-backed commission “play into the hands of the perpetrators who are fully aware that prosecuting them for war crimes and crimes against humanity will not fall within the jurisdiction of the court”.
It added that the commission’s admission of Myanmar’s wrongdoing -- that war crimes, serious human rights violations, and breaking of domestic law took place during the security operations between Aug. 25 and Sept. 5 2017 “merely reiterates Myanmar’s legal argument”.
Rohingya, described by the UN as one of the most persecuted community in the world, has been facing systematic state persecution in the northern Rakhine state of Myanmar since early 1970s.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar's state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience".
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar's army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.