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Myanmar accused of ignoring ICJ's genocide measures

Country accused of failing to address root causes of discrimination against Rohingya

Myanmar accused of ignoring ICJ's genocide measures

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar walk into Palongkhali in Bangladesh's Ukhia district on Nov. 2, 2017. They gave accounts of murder, rape and arson at the hands of Myanmar's army after militant raids sparked a crackdown. (Photo: AFP)

Rights groups have accused Myanmar of not carrying out provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as it has done nothing to address the root causes of discrimination against the Rohingya.

On Nov. 23, Myanmar’s government submitted its second report to the ICJ on compliance with the court’s order to protect the Rohingya from genocide.

The UN’s top court issued its order in January requiring Myanmar to prevent genocidal acts, preserve all evidence of genocidal acts and report on compliance with the provisional measures every six months.

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Grant Shubin, legal director of the Global Justice Center, said that since the order was issued, Myanmar has done nothing to address the root causes of discrimination and impunity that give rise to the ongoing risk of genocide against the Rohingya.

In fact, he said, the government ramped up discrimination with this month’s election that disenfranchised Rohingya voters and blocked Rohingya candidates from running for office.

“Meaningful compliance with the order requires comprehensive legal reform to dismantle systemic discrimination against the Rohingya and to strip the military of its supremacy and autonomy,” Shubin said.

A UK-based Rohingya rights group said Myanmar was failing to comply with the provisional measures.

“It is six months since Myanmar reported to the court for the first time and the genocide is still ongoing,” said Tun Khin, president of Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK).

He said the international community needs to step up its efforts to protect the Rohingya, while the court should make it obligatory for Myanmar to publicize its reports.

Last week the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for a draft resolution that expressed “grave concern” over serious rights abuses against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities.

Myanmar representative to the UN blasted it as “intrusive and illegitimate.”.

Myanmar has faced global legal pressure over atrocities against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities following a bloody military crackdown in 2017 that forced over 740,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

Six of Myanmar’s most senior army officers have been accused of genocide by a UN fact-finding mission and recommended for criminal prosecution.

Once an international icon representing peaceful defiance of military dictatorship, Myanmar’s de facto leader, state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, has been savagely criticized for defending her country’s army over the Rohingya exodus.

She appealed to ICJ judges to dismiss allegations that Myanmar committed genocide and to allow the country’s court martial system to deal with any human rights abuses.

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