Written by Samya Singh, a grade 9 student.
Two soldiers from Myanmar (what was once Burma) have been taken to The Hague after they admitted to killing people from the Rohingya minority in 2017. The soldiers said that they killed dozens of villagers.
However, the New York Times said it could not confirm that the two soldiers committed the crimes which said they had.
What’s the Hague?
The Hague is a city in a European country called the Netherlands. It is where the International Court of Justice, one of the most important courts in the world, is located.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), or what is at times called the World Court, is a part of the United Nations. This court settles disputes between states according to international law. The ICJ is the only international court that makes judgments on general disputes between countries.
So what’s the Rohingya story?
This is about killings that are known as the Rohingya genocide – which were a series of mass killings by the Myanmar (Burmese) government against a community of Muslims called the Rohingya people (genocide means the killing of a large group of people, particularly of a particular ethnic group).
The genocide took place in two phases: from October 2016 to January 2017 and the second has been going on since August 2017. This forced over a million Rohingya to flee to other countries, like Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and Thailand.
When the crackdown on the Rohingya people took place, it was criticized by from the United Nations and the human rights group Amnesty International. The Burmese leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been widely criticized for this genocide – because she remained silent and didn’t do much to prevent the killings.
How did it start and who are the Rohingyas?
In August 2017, some Rohingya militants attacked more than 30 police posts in Myanmar. The police then responded by burning their villages and killing civilians. More than 250 villages were destroyed by the fires.
Who are the Rohingya?
They are one of Myanmar’s ethnic minorities and they represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar. They say they are descendants of the Arab traders and have their own language and culture.
However, Myanmar, which is mainly a Buddhist country, does not give citizenship to them and refuse to recognise them as a community.
Where is Myanmar?