International Webinar on Justice and Accountability for the Rohingyas

Date: 1 June 2021

Organized by
Utrecht University’s Centre for Global Challenges (UGlobe)
and North South University’s Center for Peace Studies (CPS)

 The Webinar titled “International Webinar on Justice and Accountability for the Rohingyas” was jointly organized by Utrecht University’s Centre for Global Challenges (UGlobe) and North South University’s Center for Peace Studies (CPS) to assess Myanmar’s recent report submitted to  the International Court of Justice (ICJ) whether it is abiding by the decision of ICJ and acting in conformity with international law, and the overall response from the international community to hold the Myanmar government accountable for failing to prevent the genocide of the Rohingya community. Dr. Brianne McGonigle Leyh, Associate Professor of Human Rights Law & Global Justice at Utrecht University started with the welcome speech and provided the participants with a brief overview of the discussion topic and touched upon the situation of the Rohingya in the camps located in Bangladesh. Dr. Cedric Ryngaert, Professor of Public International Law at Utrecht University and Professor Tawfique M. Haque, Director of South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance (SIPG) and Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology (PSS), NSU jointly moderated the webinar. And the event ended with the Vote of Thanks and concluding remarks of Dr. M Jashim Uddin, an Associate Professor of the department of PSS and a member of CPS, NSU. He thanked M. Riaz Hamidullah, the Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Netherlands, all the speakers, and participants. Lawyers, academics, journalists, and students were present among the participants.


“The previous administrations in Myanmar, as well as the international community are both enablers of the crimes,” said Yasmin Ullah, a Rohingya Social Justice activist in the webinar on Wednesday. Ambassador Laetitia van den Assum, an independent diplomatic expert and former member of the Rakhine Advisory Commission headed by Kofi Annan, said that since the February 2021 coup, the prospect of half a million Rohingya who is in Rakhine has worsened as the military who is responsible for the 2016 and 2017 horrific attacks is itself in power now.


Vincent de Graaf, Legal Counsel at Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained what steps the Dutch parliament members and the Government has taken to strengthen their support for the Gambia, the Rohingya community, and the host country- Bangladesh. Professor Payam Akhavan, a Senior Fellow at the University of Toronto and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague said, “We must ensure sustained attention to the accountability issue among competing priorities in the global agenda”.


Former Foreign Secretary of the Bangladesh government Ambassador Shahidul Haque, now a Professorial Fellow of SIPG at NSU, said that the international community has failed to invoke the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine the way it did in the case of Libya and Syria.