'It would be a great shame if India were found to be complicit in the latest genocide in the world today'
The government of India may be held accountable for the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar as per the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
Shri Narendra Modi
New Delhi, India
HE Rajnath Singh
New Delhi, India
HE Vikras Swarup,
High Commissioner of India to Canada
Mr Prime Minister and Your Excellencies,
Namaskaram. Sarvesham shantir bhavatu.
I heard with alarm yesterday 3 October 2018, that India has started deporting to Myanmar, the first seven of 40,000 Rohingyas refugees seeking asylum in India in the face of the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.
May I bring to your attention that you personally and the Government of India may be held accountable for the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar as per the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948, and ratified by India on 27 August 1959.
Article 3 of the Convention defines the crimes that can be punished under the convention: (a) Genocide; (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; (d) Attempt to commit genocide; (e) Complicity in genocide.
The UN’s Special Rapporteur on racism, Ms Tendayi Achiume, has said, “Given the ethnic identity of the men, this is a flagrant denial of their right to protection and could amount to refoulement. The Indian government has an international legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalized discrimination, persecution, hate and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection.
You may be aware, that on 20 September 2018, the Canadian government and Parliament unanimously voted to recognize the Rohingya Genocide:
And on 27 Sep 2018, the UN Human Rights Council resolved to set up an “independent mechanism” that will collect and analyze evidence of the “most serious international crimes” against the Rohingyas and prepare dossiers that will make it easier for prosecutors to bring cases to trial in national, regional or international courts.
In light of these decisions, it is very unwise for India to be deporting the Rohingyas. It will unnecessarily make India an international pariah.
Reporting in March 2018, the UN Independent International Fact Finding Mission found patterns of gross human rights violations and abuses committed in Kachin, Rakhine (Rohingya) and Shan States that “undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law” and called for an investigation and prosecution for genocide, as well as for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Even if the United Nations Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council or the International Criminal Court do not act, there is sufficient evidence available and individuals in countries with Universal Jurisdiction will be applying to their local courts to have those responsible and those complicit in the Rohingya genocide arrested and tried. Canada is one of the countries that has defined these international crimes in its laws and is one of the top ten countries in the world with an independent judiciary. This has already happened to Aung San Suu Kyi in Australia in March 2018. She was not arrested only because the Australian Attorney-General intervened.
I am very proud to be a Canadian. But I was born in Myanmar. My father Sao Shwe Thaike, the first President of independent Burma in 1948 and my mother, the Mahadevi of Yawnghwe, were friends with the Nehru family and I have always looked up to India as one of the most advanced countries and the largest democracy in the world. It would be a great shame if India were to be found complicit in the latest genocide taking place in the world today.
The Mahadevi of Yawnghwe with Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi
I appeal to you and your government to stop the deportation of Rohingya refugees seeking refuge in India. All the gods of the Hindu trimurti - Brahma, Vishu and Shiva - are compassionate. Compassion is one of the twelve most important virtues of Hinduism. Compassion thrives in a person who rises about his selfishness and egoism. He does not take advantage of the weakness of others.
May you be compassionate
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260. The Convention entered into force on 12 January 1951.
Article 2 of the Convention defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole, or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Article 3 defines the crimes that can be punished under the convention: (a) Genocide; (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; (d) Attempt to commit genocide; (e) Complicity in genocide.
Myanmar/Burma signed the Convention on 30 December 1949 and its ratification was deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 14 March 1952.
(Harn Yawnghwe, who holds a Canadian passport, is the executive director of the Brussels-based Euro-Burma Office (EBO). He is an influential voice on the Rohingya crisis on the global platform.)