Mon Community Abroad Voices Support of ICJ Prosecution of Burma

Friday, December 6, 2019

Organizations representing the ethnic Mon community abroad have come out in support of Gambia’s prosecution of the Burmese state in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Representing the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Gambia brought the case against Burma for the genocide of the Rohingya people on November 10, with court sessions scheduled to start in The Hague, Netherlands from December 10-12, with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi leading Burma’s delegation.

Representatives of the Abroad Mon National Cooperation Committee said that they stand in support of the case, due to the Mon community’s own suffering at the hands of the Burma Army.

“Mon people faced this kind of similar abuse in Mon State in the past,” chair of the organization Nai Thiri Mon Chan told NMG. “Other ethnic people, such as the Karen, Kachin and Shan have faced human rights abuses for over 70 years in their regions. We have sympathy for all ethnic people. Therefore, the Mon community supports the prosecution of Burma.”

Nai Thiri Mon Chan said that there have been misconceptions around what the trial means, and described it as “a country prosecuting another country.”

“Some people in Burma have said that all people in Burma are being prosecuted. It’s not like that. They are prosecuting the country of Burma. The prosecution is focused on human rights abusers. Therefore, we support the prosecution,” he explained.

He added that this case, and the international pressure accompanying it, could be the catalyst for a type of political change in the country that he has not seen thus far from the military or those working within the “democratic transition.”

The KNU Concerned Group, headed by former Karen National Union vice chairperson Naw Zipporah Sein released an earlier statement supporting Gambia’s prosecution of Burma at the ICJ. Some ethnic armed organizations have also followed suit.

Others, including the United Wa State Army and the Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army, have stated that they support the Burmese government in the genocide trial.

Ethnic armed organizations signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement also released a statement, calling on Burma to adhere to international treaties in order to foster peace.