At long last international arrest warrants may be headed the way of Myanmar’s top military and political leaders, including the country’s de facto prime minister, Aung San Suu Kyi, for crimes against Rohingya Muslims.
Neither the Nobel peace prize nor her Oxford PPE (politics, philosophy and economics) degree will be able to save the state counsellor if the Argentinian court, where the lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by human rights groups, has its way.
Argentina — whose law allows its court to exercise universal jurisdiction — has in the past heard cases involving Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and the Falun Gong movement in China. Earlier on Monday, Gambia filed a genocide case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
Unlike the Argentinian case, the Gambian genocide case filed at ICJ is a novelty. At best, it might end up being a verdict on how badly the world is tackling genocide and other crimes against humanity.
Gambia and other Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries that filed the case, citing the little-used 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, just want to pass the message to the world how miserably the United Nations and its courts — especially the International Criminal Court (ICC) — have failed humanity.
Take the case of the UN. The Rwandan genocide is a good place to start. There, in one estimate, between 800,000 and one million Tutsis and Hutus were killed under the watch of UN peacekeepers. It was an abject failure for the world body.But slow learning UN remains a slow learner.
Other genocides and crimes against humanity have come and gone. So have UN secretaries-general. But all we get is pontifications from the podium in New York.
To be fair, the secretary-general is manacled by the permanent five of the Security Council. So shackled, the UN is headed down the road of irrelevance.
So is the ICC. There are two reasons for this. One, the ICC does not do enough. Two, if it does, it goes after the meek and weak. Most of the ICC’s war criminals seem to come out of Africa. The atrocities committed by the permanent five appear not to be within the ICC’s ken.
Where the ICC failed, Malaysia has stepped in with its tribunals, finding the likes of United States’s George Bush and Britain’s Tony Blair guilty of genocide. This is a telling verdict on ICC’s let-down as an institution.
The US — and its allies — are happy to see the ICC fail. From Bill Clinton, who signed the Rome Treaty, through Bush, who unsigned it, to President Donald Trump, all have worked tirelessly to keep the ICC away from American war criminals.
Last year, when ICC judges moved to charge Americans who served in Afghanistan with war crimes, the then White House national security adviser John Bolton threatened them thus: we will sanction you if you come after us, Israel or our allies. Rule of law for the rest and rule of the jungle for the US and its allies. Bigotry never had a better clime.
Malaysia, Gambia and Argentina’s efforts may end up being a mere paper victory, but they do echo what Leon Uris wrote in his bestselling Exodus: international law is one which the evil ignore and the righteous refuse to enforce.
Published in: The New Straits Times, Saturday 16 November 2019
LETTERS: Joint declaration on Kashmir and Palestine for freedom and self determination
COGNIZANT of the fact that Kashmiris and Palestinians have had to endure more than 70 years of occupation, oppression and denial of human rights by the occupiers – India and Israel; and the close collaboration developing between them to the level of military cooperation,
And knowing well that this cooperation is also tied to their mutually shared extremist, militant ideologies of Hindutva and Zionism which in turn are geared towards the destruction of Kashmiri and Palestinian religion and culture
Fully aware that the UN has passed resolutions that affirm the status of both Kashmir and Palestine as occupied and disputed lands, hence the Kashmiri and Palestinian struggles against occupation are legitimate and supported by the international community as evidenced by the growing solidarity expressed from many countries and communities around the world
Reasserting the Kashmiri right to self-determination and the Palestinians’ right to their own state, despite the growing India-Israel alliance to continue occupying the territories where such occupations have been always extremely brutal and have brought untold suffering to the Kashmiris as it has to the Palestinians,
Demand that all Indian troops withdraw from Kashmir and return the territory to normalcy and reinstate Article 370; end the security lockdown and restore the right to free movement.
Condemn the savage response of the Indian state to the popular people's movement by using pellet guns, banned in other countries that has blinded and maimed hundreds, from a year-old child to the elderly, while the numbers of the dead and injured continue to rise on a daily basis.
Strongly demand that India immediately end the torture, rape, sexual violence, enforced disappearances, and extra-judicial killings in Kashmir.
Demand all political detainees including 13,000 youth be released immediately.
Salute and stand in solidarity with Kashmiris in their protest against the Indian state, and we fully recognize the political sovereignty and call for Azadi (freedom) for Kashmiris.
On Palestine, we:
Demand that the right of return for all Palestinians be rendered unconditionally and all Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails be released.
Demand that the Zionist settlements on all Palestinian lands be dismantled and the lands returned to the Palestinians as well as all destroyed properties compensated.
Insist that after decades of oppression under former Israeli leaders and now Benjamin Netanyahu, be held responsible and accountable for the destruction of Gaza, the oppression in the occupied West Bank , intrusions and violence on the Al Aqsa mosque and for the atrocities committed on the Palestinians.
Strongly resist and condemn the agenda to Judaize Baitul Maqdis and Masjid Al Aqsa by Zionist Israel, and we call upon all Muslim countries to unite to oppose this agenda. All Israeli troops in the Al Aqsa mosque compound and in East Jerusalem must be withdrawn immediately.
Denounce the Deal of the Century by the US as a peace deal for the Palestinians. There can be no compromise on the right of return for Palestinians.
Demand that East Jerusalem be declared the capital of a future Palestinian state and no foreign mission to the Israeli regime be established in Jerusalem as confirmed by UN resolutions.
Demand specifically, the siege on Gaza be immediately removed and the necessary resources including financial needs to rehabilitate and rebuild Gaza guaranteed.
Recommend that the UN Inquiry team firmly lay the charge of war crimes on Israel in line with the laws on human rights and crimes against humanity.
Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organization
Alliance of World Mosques In Defence of Al Aqsa
Secretariate for the Assembly of Ulama Asia
Palestine Cultural Organization of Malaysia
Malaysian Kashmir Youth Forum
Muslim Minority Affairs Center
Justice and Development Organization of Cambodia
Al Aqsa Working Group Indonesia
Council for Humanitarian Network Syekhul Islam Thailand
Oct 14, 2019
Published in: The New Straits Times, Thursday 24 October 2019
July 5, 2009 is a day that the Uighur Muslims would like to forget. On that fateful day, ethnic violence erupted between Uighurs and Han Chinese. The riot began as a result of the killing of two Uighurs following a brawl on the factory floors of far away Guangdong.
The Guardian of the United Kingdom said 196 people died in the violence, while Al Jazeera reported 200 deaths. The narrative was different then. Ten years on, the narrative continues to reflect different realities.
But since then, the noise around the world has grown louder, demanding the truth to be made known. It was not about what happened during the riots, but about what is being visited on Uighur Muslims following the riots.
There is a Chinese version. And there is the rest of the world’s version. Navigating the narratives is not easy.
On Saturday, the New Straits Times carried an Op-ed piece by human rights writer Nadia Zaifulizan calling for the record on China’s Uighur narrative to be set straight. We think this to be a just call.
Labelling the world’s version as fake news only complicates the matter. Things such as this cannot be branded away. Because Nadia’s wasn’t the only voice. The United Nations, Western governments and human rights groups are also adding their discontent to the plight of the Uighurs.
Christian Shepherd, writing on July 6 from Beijing for the FTWeekend, talked about Muslim families being “forcibly” separated. In the English newspaper’s account, about 1.5 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other mostly Muslim minorities are being held in re-education camps.
China explains this off by saying that it is an essential tool in fighting terrorism. But questions continue. If so, why place young children in de facto orphanages, is one such making the media rounds.
FTWeekend calls in aid a research conducted by Adrian Zenz of the European School of Culture and Theology and commissioned by the BBC to support its claim.
Islamophobia may have something to do with what is going on in Xinjiang. Islam is much misunderstood and maligned. Especially after Sept 11, 2001, a disaster that has divided the world into “them” and “us”.
Even after 1,440 years on and two billion Muslims later, Islam is, for some strange reason, viewed with fear. This is not the right way of seeing. The Russian communists had a similar jaundiced view.
Like Karl Marx came to say it, many today view religion — not only Islam — as the opium of the people. And the post-9/11 world has added its own complications.
Secularists, by some clever design, have forged religion and terror into an artificial wedlock. Like inseparable twins. This-world centred beings seek to find evidence of the twain, but finding none, invent one.
We may disagree on how we originated. Or even on how long we have been around on Earth. But we cannot disagree that we come in different shapes, sizes and hues. Because our eyes bear witness to our varied skin colours: yellow, brown, black and white and every other colour in between.
Granted, for convenience of rule and reign, we have carved up the planet into sovereign territories. But such divisions must accommodate, not exclude.
Published in: (NST Leader) New Straits Times, Tuesday 09 July 2019
A life of simplicity can be defined as a life from which all nonessentials have been removed. It is marked by oneness. It is uncomplicated. As a result, it is freeing. It allows our lives to be focused on the things that are most important to us................................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
The United Nations Security Coun-cil broke its weeks-long silence on the crisis in Myanmar and called for an end to the violence as UN chief Antonio Guterres said the military campaign amounted to ethnic cleansing of Ro-hingya Muslims. After a closed-door meeting, the 15-member council, including China, a sup-porter of Myanmar's former ruling junta, expressed concern about exces-sive force during security operations in Rakhine state and called for 'immediate steps" to end the violence...............................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
Although still in its infancy, there are already six crowdfunding companies operating in Malaysia. One of them was co-founded by Elain Lockman, an actuarial science graduate with a Masters in operational research who was one of the early employees at MDEC. She also had stints at iPerintis [now called Petronas ICT) and Malaysia Debt Ventures before venturing on her own as a consultant for tech clients such as DiGi Telecommunications, Packet One Networks, Green Science and MSC Management Services. Last year, she helped found Ata Plus with two other business partners. Elain talks to SAVVY about what crowd-funding is all about and its prospects in Malaysia..............................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
The man behind the annual Davos forum that for decades has been singing the praises of global trade insists that globalisation is only one factor in dramatic shifts provoking angst and anger. Klaus Schwab, the 78-year-old founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, told AFP in an interview this week he understood that rapid changes in our societies were provoking anxiety, but stressed that globalised trade was not the sole culprit.......................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
Over the past two weeks, I have heard and read many questions, comments and news stories regarding recent changes to the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Why, everyone seems to want to know, did we establish a Ministry of Happiness, Tolerance and Future, and why did we appoint a 22 year-old minister of Youth?....................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
Question: How do you see the capital market for the rest of the year and next year for Malaysia and the region?
Answer: For Malaysia and the region it is similar. In Indonesia and Singapore we have had a few capital market exercises. We have seen IPOs postponed. I think the market is not conducive until the end of the year (or) first quarter next year. We don’t think it is conducive to raise funds in equity and debt markets because the pricing will be affected. For companies that are very strong, it’s still a good time to raise bonds, because people will take good credit. Good credit is no issue. We are still number one in terms of sukuk and the bond market. ................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
A TRUCE to last some 72 hours has started in Gaza and the Israeli army is being pulled back to the borders. Brokered by Egypt, the ceasefire should allow some breathing space for Gazans to bury their dead — if they can find space for them — salvage whatever they can and stock up on supplies in case talks break down and they are back to square one. According to the latest reports, Gazans remain nervous; fearing the worst. However, after declaring that they have achieved their objective of destroying the tunnels, Zionist Israel has begun pulling back their army, but not before perpetrating a long list of war crimes, including the latest attack on the United Nations (UN) school-cum-shelter, which drew condemnation even from their allies, especially the French.
After four weeks of ceaselessly pounding Gaza and killing more than 1,800 Palestinians, mainly civilians, the world leaders have suddenly woken up to the grizzly reality of Tel Aviv’s “defensive” action against the defenceless. Not that the Israeli-friendly governments and the UN have stopped blaming Hamas, firstly, for triggering this latest assault by the occupying power and, secondly, for raining rockets on an Iron Dome-protected Israel. Against such blatant bias, how can there be a lasting peace? Instead, if the statement of the French foreign minister is anything to go by, the intransigence of both parties has become an excuse for calls for the international community to impose peace. There are even suggestions that it revert to some form of mandated territory administered by the UN, which is not the solution desired by Palestinians surely, who expect self-determination in a sovereign Palestine.
Not too many days ago, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister called for supranational organisations, including the UN Security Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, to act or lose their legitimacy. The Security Council has voiced its support for an immediate halt on attacks that have taken a high civilian toll, especially on Gaza’s children. This, however, did not take the form of binding resolutions. The UN General Assembly will also be convening to figure out a solution. Meanwhile in Teheran, the foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement’s Palestinian Committee are meeting. The committee, consisting of Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Iran, Egypt, India, Senegal, South Africa, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been urged by the Iranian president to focus on working out practical ways of helping the people of Gaza whom he says are “caught in a web of colonial plots”.
In short, while the world has awoken to the need to pressure Israel to stop the bloodbath, the voice is not homogenous. Rather, the agendas being pursued may not match the aspirations of the Palestinians, in both Gaza and the West Bank. Israel, however, has managed to exact its extreme and indiscriminate punishment on Palestine with impunity once again.