At the invitation of the Rohingya Human Rights Network (RHRN), and together with several other concerned groups, Professor Packer addressed a gathering on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day on August 25, 2019. The date is the second anniversary of the start of the mass violence against Rohingya in Myanmar in 2017 that caused over three quarters of a million Rohingya to flee mainly to neighbouring Bangladesh where they remain in awful conditions.
Professor Packer’s statement focused on the available recourse to address the genocide before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) pursuant to the terms of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide which is binding on both Myanmar and Canada (along with some 150 other States). Despite the Parliament and Government of Canada last year declaring the genocide against the Rohingya, so far Canada has failed to invoke the Genocide Convention and bring the matter to the ICJ as is prescribed. Concern is growing that the prevailing situation (which is worsening) will give rise to increasing pressures for forced repatriation notwithstanding deteriorating conditions inside Myanmar and the steadfast resistance of the Rohingya. The RHRN has created a national petition calling, among other things, for the Government of Canada to bring a case to the ICJ; so far some 76,000 Canadians have signed the petition.