MCN Statement: Five-Year Commemoration of Rohingya Crisis

Today 25 August marks the five-year anniversary of the beginning of the Myanmar military’s brutal campaign against the Rohingya on August 25, 2017.

Tasneem Roc, Campaign Manager for Myanmar Campaign Network said, “The perpetrators of the crimes against the Rohingya people must be held accountable. We, as a nation, must take action in the form of targeted sanctions to limit the junta’s influence and support the push for a federal democracy where the rights of the Rohingya are restored.”

During these violent and deadly operations against the Rohingya population, the Myanmar military committed horrific acts of torture, extrajudicial killing, destruction of properties, rape, gang rape, mass rape, and sexual assault amounting to crimes against humanity and acts of genocide. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) conservatively estimates between 9,425 and 13,759 Rohingya died during the first month of the violence.

Over 740,000 Rohingya women, men, and children fled from northern Rakhine State to Bangladesh, joining more than 200,000 who had fled previous violence. There are now nearly one million Rohingya refugees now living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The Rohingya, an estimated 600,000 of whom remain in Myanmar, have been targeted with systemic violence, discrimination, and persecution for decades. This includes restrictions on freedom of movement and violations of their economic and social rights such as access to healthcare, education, and livelihood. Rendered stateless under the 1982 Citizenship Law, they have been denied their citizenship, identity, human dignity, and security. These human rights violations, linked to their racial identity, constitute apartheid, a crime against humanity under international law.

​​Those responsible for the violence against the Rohingya, including Chairman of the State Administration Council and coup instigator, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and other senior Myanmar military officials identified by the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar must be brought to justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide.

The military units responsible for the crimes against humanity, war crimes, and acts of genocide against the Rohingya have been deployed across the country since the 1 February 2021 coup. The UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) has collected more than 3 million information items from 200 sources proving that military and security forces in Myanmar have been and are currently committing human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Myanmar Campaign Network calls for justice and accountability for the crimes committed against the Rohingya, and an end to the systematic and targeted attacks on civilians in Myanmar, and calls for:

  • Australia to join our democratic allies the US, UK, EU, and Canada, and immediately issue targeted sanctions against the Myanmar military and its business interests.
  • Australia to increase the allocation of humanitarian visas for Myanmar refugees from 2,000 to 10,000 places.
  • Australia to allocate Temporary Humanitarian Stay visas for Myanmar refugees with a pathway to Temporary Humanitarian Concern visas similar to that offered to Ukraine.
  • Australia to investigate and prosecute the crimes of the Myanmar junta before the Federal Court under the principle of Universal Jurisdiction.

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About MCN

The Myanmar Campaign Network (MCN) is an Australian national coalition formed following the 2021 coup in Myanmar, comprising human rights organisations, international aid NGOs, Myanmar diaspora organisations, trade unions and faith-based organisations.

This project is under the auspices of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA.


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