“Genocidal Intent” and the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Monday, September 9, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Program Chair:
Joseph J. Perkovich 
Phillips Black, Inc

  • Since August 2017, the plight of the ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar and across borders in Bangladesh, India, and Saudi Arabia has presented one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. In September 2018, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued fact findings including the presence of “genocidal intent” by Myanmar authorities in forcing the exodus of over 1.1 million people among the Rohingya minority. On January 25, 2019, the OHCHR Special Rapporteur in Myanmar reported that for the foreseeable future these Rohingya refugees, who are generally also stateless—viz., lacking nationality under law, will be unsafe to return to Myanmar. Bangladesh’s Kutupalong refugee camp is now home to over 600,000 of the Rohingyas and it thus supplies a territorial nexus for gauging the capacity of international law to abate and remedy this moral catastrophe. Serious questions abound regarding the trans-boundary movement of the Rohingyas, their refugee status, and the statelessness of the population. Bangladesh has neither acceded to the 1951 Refugee Convention (and the ’67 Protocol), nor the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. On the other hand, Bangladesh is a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and groups of Rohingyas have secured the court’s jurisdiction regarding the alleged forcible transfer of the population, a crime against humanity, by Myanmar (a non-signatory to the Rome Statute).

    This CLE event will provide extensive background and context for these circumstances and identify the key international human rights problems facing this vulnerable population and the international community.

    Live Program & Webcast: Free for Members | $50 for Nonmembers
    No further discounts apply

  • James C. Hathaway
    James E. and Sarah A. Degan Professor of Law
    Director, Program in Refugee and Asylum Law
    University of Michigan Law School
    Megan Hirst
    Doughty Street Chambers
    H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen
    Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations

  • 6:00 p.m. – 6:10 p.m. Introduction & Program Overview
    6:10 p.m. – 6:25 p.m. Overview: Rohingya Crisis Since 2017
    6:25 p.m. – 7:05 p.m. Facilitated Panel Discussion:

    • Refugee and stateless statuses applicable to Rohingya beyond/within Rakhine State, Myanmar: Asylum and protective responsibility
    • Obligations of Bangladesh and other states under international law
      • Implications from breaches of protective responsibility
      • Legal process: Fear and harm adjudications
      • Non-refoulement
      • Baseline treatment standards for stateless persons and their residual nationality questions
    • Resettlement: moral and policy considerations
    • Responsibility to Protect: the norm’s implications for international community concerning Myanmar’s “genocidal intent”
    • Criminal liability questions: the alleged crime against humanity of forcible transfer (Bangladesh vis-à-vis Myanmar in ICC proceedings)
    7:15 p.m. – 7:25 p.m. Break
    7:25 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Panel Discussion (con’t)
    8:00 p.m. – 8:40 p.m. Moderated Cross-Topic Discussion

    • Viability of international law in protecting rights of Rohingya community and individuals
    • Roles of refugee law, status of stateless persons, and international criminal law
    • State responsibility under international law, Myanmar
    8:40 p.m. – 8:55 p.m. Q&A
    8:55 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Closing Remarks

  • CLE Credit
    New York:
    3.0 Professional Practice
    New Jersey:
     3.4 General
     3.0 General
     2.5 General

  • Sponsoring Association Committee:

    Asian Affairs, Jian Wu, Chair

    Council on International Affairs, Michael D. Cooper, Chair

    International Law, Anibal Sabater, Chair

    Middle Eastern & North African Affairs, Timothy James McCarthy, Chair

    United Nations, Simon O’Connor, Chair

    Co-Sponsoring Organization:

    Sponsorship Opportunities are Available! Please Contact:
    Angie Avila, Manager, Membership Outreach and Sponsorships | (212) 382-6608 | aavila@nycbar.org