A 35-member “citizen commission” comprising eminent individuals has been formed to investigate atrocities on Rohingyas in Myanmar that has led to exodus of over 520,000 Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh.
Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee President Shahriar Kabir declared the “Citizen Commission for Investigating Genocide and Terrorism in Burma”, at a press conference at Jatiya Press Club in the capital yesterday.
Justice Shamsul Huda and Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik, two former judges of the Supreme Court's Appellate Division, have been made chairman and member secretary of the commission.
Former SC judges, lawyers, educationists, freedom fighters, security experts, rights activists and journalists were made its members.
To help the commission, there will be a secretariat coordinated by Kazi Mukul, general secretary of the Nirmul Committee. Most of its members will be journalists.
“The commission will work independently and Nirmul Committee will provide necessary assistance,” said Shahriar Kabir. “We also hope for similar types of assistance from the government agencies, like-minded organisations and individuals.”
Shahriar said they also took an initiative to form an international commission for implementing the recommendations the commission will give, and also for bringing a permanent solution to the Rohingya issue.
The international commission, comprising legal experts, intellectuals and rights activists, will take decision about taking the Myanmar government, more specifically the army, to the International Criminal Court.
“We hope the commission will be formed in the first week of December in Geneva,” he said.
Replying to a query, Shahriar Kabir said the commission will visit Myanmar if the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar permit and they have already talked with the state minister for foreign affairs about the issue.
Justice Shamsuddin said the citizen commission will hold its first meeting within a week and set its course of action.
The committee will visit the Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar within a month and publish their report within the next three to four months, he added.
About the purpose of the commission, he said it will work to create an international consciousness over “the genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Myanmar” and to pressurise the United Nations to take effective measures.
The commission will place some specific recommendations for both the Bangladesh and Myanmar governments, civil society and the international community, he said.
Justice Shamsuddin said they will determine whether genocide and crimes against humanity were committed against Rohingyas in Myanmar and if committed, then identify the responsible persons.
It will work to prove that Rohingyas, as per the international law and several conventions of the UN, are citizens of Myanmar. It will also investigate the reasons behind the continuous persecution and deportation of the Rohingyas and lay out a solution for it, he added.
The commission members former justices Mohammad Mumtaz Uddin Ahmed, Nizamul Haque Nasim and Kazi Ebadul Haque; journalist Muhammad Shafiqur Rahman; Prof Muntassir Mamoon; Prof Kamrul Hasan Khan; Prof Ajoy Roy; Maj Gen (retd) Abdur Rashid; rights activist Ashok Barua and former inspector general of police Nurul Anwar spoke at the press conference.
Prof Anisuzzaman, former law minister barrister Shafique Ahmed, Sanghanayaka Suddhananda Mahathero, former justice Syed Amirul Islam, Prof Burhanuddin Khan Jahangir, Prof Anupam Sen, journalist Kamal Lohani, writer Prof Hasan Azizul Haque, artist Hashem Khan, advocate Rana Dasgupta and Shahriar Kabir, are also among the members of the commission.