SPONSORED:

UN court orders Myanmar to prevent genocide of Rohingya Muslims

 UN court orders Myanmar to prevent genocide of Rohingya Muslims
© Getty Images

The United Nations’s International Court of Justice on Thursday reportedly ordered Myanmar to take action to safeguard its Rohingya Muslim minority against genocide.

The unanimous decision orders the country to “take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related” to allegations of acts of genocide, The Associated Press reported. The court “is of the opinion that the Rohingya in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable,” Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, the court’s president, said.

“Today, having the judges unanimously agree to the protection of Rohingya means so much to us because we’re now allowed to exist and it’s legally binding,” Rohingya activist Yasmin Ullah told reporters on the steps of the court following the decision, according to the AP.

ADVERTISEMENT

Abdul Jalil, a 39-year-old refugee living in a camp in Bangladesh, told the news service “this is good news. We thank the court as it has reflected our hope for justice. The verdict proves that Myanmar has become a nation of torturers,” but warned “there is little chance that Myanmar will listen.”

The binding order reportedly came as a result of a case brought by the nation of Gambia on behalf of a coalition of Muslim nations accusing Myanmar of genocide. The judges did not rule on the substance of the case in the Thursday ruling, the AP noted, adding that it came days after an independent panel established by the Myanmar government ruled that while state security likely committed war crimes, there was no evidence of planned or practical genocide.

Human rights groups have criticized that report, with Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director, Phil Robertson, reportedly saying the conclusions were “what would have been expected from a non-transparent investigation by a politically skewed set of commissioners working closely with the Myanmar government.”

Burma Campaign U.K. Executive Director Anna Roberts said international pressure would be necessary for Myanmar’s state counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate who has come under harsh criticism for her handling of the Rohingya crisis, to act.

“The chances of Aung San Suu Kyi implementing this ruling will be zero unless significant international pressure is applied,” Roberts said, according to the AP. “So far, the international community has not been willing to apply pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi over her own appalling record on human rights.”