Published On: Thu, Dec 12th, 2019

Locsin throws shade at U.N. court hearing on Myanmar genocide case

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DEFENSE. Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi stands before UN's International Court of Justice on December 10, 2019, in the Peace Palace of The Hague, at the start of a three-day hearing on Rohingya genocide case. Photo by Koen Van Weel/ANP/AFP

DEFENSE. Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi stands before UN’s International Court of Justice on December 10, 2019, in the Peace Palace of The Hague, at the start of a three-day hearing on Rohingya genocide case. Photo by Koen Van Weel/ANP/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr threw shade at International Court of Justice (ICJ) proceedings involving Myanmar, which is facing charges of genocide targeting Rohingya Muslims, saying the public should judge the Southeast Asian country against massacres seen in Western history.

For further emphasis, Locsin advised Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to show officials at the United Nation’s top court photos of “European death camps, drowning of Algerians in the (river) Seine…a fat white woman kicking a refugee” and photojournalist Nilüfer Demir’s work showing Syrian 3-year-old Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed ashore, his face turned to one side as if he were asleep.

“Judge Myanmar against the template of European pogroms, the Europe wide Holocaust, the extermination of the real Americans, and the lynching of Blacks,” Locsin tweeted on Wednesday, December 11.

Locsin posted the tweet in reference to a news report which reported Suu Kyi defending Myanmar at the ICJ against charges of genocide targeting Rohingya Muslims.

In defense of Myanmar: The Philippines has voted against at least 5 UN resolutions urging action on abuses against Rohingya Muslims since 2016, often saying Myanmar should be allowed to address issues internally instead of having foreign states intervene.

This is similar to Philippine officials’ position when defending President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial anti-illegal drug campaign. Locsin himself has taken a hard stance as he threatened “far-reaching” consequences for countries who have expressed concern and urged action into thousands of killings seen under the Philippine government’s drug war.

At the UN General Assembly last September, Locsin also said the United Nations is “not free to interfere” when a state chooses to take a hardline stance against crime.

Answering for actions: Legal experts have called Suu Kyi’s decison to defend Myanmar as a “highly unusual move” with the former Nobel Peace laureate one of the first national leaders to personally address the tribunal since it was set up in 1946 after World War II to rule in disputes between countries.

Gambia, a small west African state that is mainly Muslim, filed an application in November accusing Myanmar of breaching the 1948 genocide convention and asking the court to take emergency measures to stop further violence.

After the Myanmar military launched a violet crackdown on Rohingya muslims in 2017, over 700,000 Rohingya were forced to flee to camps in Bangladesh. Thousand of people were killed and rape in the offensive which the Myanmar military claimed was in response to attacks by local militants.

UN investigators earlier concluded the crackdown amounted to genocide.

Aside from hearings at the ICJ, Myanmar faces a number of legal challenges over the fate of the Rohingya, including a probe by the International Criminal Court and a lawsuit in Argentina personally mentioning Suu Kyi. – with reports from the Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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