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The Rohingya Crisis

The Shanti Mohila
LAW Staff play audio recordings of the FFM Report for members of Shanti Mohila (faces obscured for security reasons)

LAW represents Shanti Mohila (“Peace Women”), a Rohingya survivor’s group based in Bangladesh. Established in December 2017, the women banded together following their displacement as a result of the August 2017 ‘clearance operations’ perpetrated by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) that led to the displacement of over 700, 000 Rohingya from Myanmar. The women range from adolescents to elderly women. Many Shanti Mohila were widowed or lost other family members as a result of the violence in Rakhine State.

LAW is embarking on an innovative new model of legal representation where empowerment of the clients, Shanti Mohila, is mainstreamed throughout the process. LAW’s detailed representation strategy focuses on the Rights of the Rohingya and their Access to Justice. Throughout this process, LAW will ensure Rohingya women, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and widows are equipped with the technical skills and support necessary to promote their views and advocate for their own community. LAW supports Shanti Mohila in their advocacy to ensure comprehensive victim-centred accountability, coalition building, and in the provision of technical and psychosocial support.

Shanti Mohila will not remain silent in the face of the extreme violence and oppression. The seek to ensure the needs of their community are met. Shanti Mohila sought LAW’s assistance to develop their advocacy message. Shanti Mohila identified 15 advocacy demands which LAW has developed into an advocacy strategy for the group.

Securing Accountability

The first demand of Shanti Mohila is justice. In response to this, LAW, having prepared victim applications from the group, connected Shanti Mohila with Global Rights Compliance (GRC) who prepared legal arguments to give the group standing before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

LAW gathers victim applications from Shanti Mohila (faces obscured for security reasons)

Additionally, an amicus curiae brief was prepared on behalf of Shanti Mohila and submitted to the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) of the  ICC. This supported the ICC prosecutor request to secure a ruling on its jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The Shanti Mohila submission also challenged the limited scope of the prosecutor’s request, arguing that crimes such as genocide, apartheid and persecution were also ‘continuing’ crimes that began in Myanmar and are ongoing in Bangladesh, and therefore subject to the prosecutor’s jurisdiction. In September 2018 the PTC accepted the submission of the prosecutor and also that persecution was one of the continuing crimes over which the Court has  jurisdiction.

SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

LAW will leverage its extensive expertise in addressing sexual and gender based violence, and in particular, conflict-related sexual violence, to support the wider Rohingya community. Later this year, LAW will begin an exciting new project to assist male survivors of sexual violence.

United Nations Fact Finding Mission

Through an extensive investigation, the United Nations International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar established consistent patterns of serious human rights violations and abuses in Rakhine state, many amounting to the serious international crimes. The Fact Finding Mission recommended that named senior generals of the Myanmar military should be investigated and prosecuted in an international criminal tribunal for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

For more information about LAW’s work on the Rohingya Crisis contact Eva Buzo: through info@legalactionworldwide.org .