UN Photo/ICJ-CIJ/Wiebe Kiestra. Courtesy of the ICJ
UK, Germany, Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Maldives join Gambia's ICJ case against Myanmar for commission of the Rohingya genocide
Two Burmese anti-genocide organizations comment.
Free Rohingya Coalition
The Free Rohingya Coalition welcomes and thanks the German and UK governments for their decision to intervene in the case of The Gambia vs Myanmar at the International Court of Justice. In yet another sign of the winds of change, and on the day of the 5th anniversary of the Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day, 25th August 2022, both states announced their historic decisions.
In Germany, a spokesperson of the German Federal Foreign Office announced, “…we support The Gambia in order to enforce international law and to strengthen it in the fight against human rights violations. Therefore, Germany will intervene in the proceedings before the International Court of Justice.”
In the UK, Minister for Asia, Amanda Milling, declared, “UK confirms its intention to intervene in The Gambia v. Myanmar International Court of Justice Case to support international justice efforts.”
Free Rohingya Coalition believes that these resolutions further reinforce the case against the Burmese military.
The growing number of countries declaring their support for The Gambia now include Canada, the Netherlands and the Republic of Maldives. Additionally and significantly, in March of 2022, the US government formally determined that Myanmar military committed crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya.
“The reality is that the Burmese military will continue their atrocities across the country as long as countries stand by and do nothing,” said Nay San Lwin, FRC co-founder and coordinator.
“This inaction is the source of their impunity and so it is heartening to witness these examples of practical political solidarity ,” he said.
The 5th anniversary of the Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day should be a moment for the world to reiterate that “justice delayed in justice denied.”
Over a million refugees are languishing in the camps of Bangladesh, waiting to be repatriated. There is a lost generation of children who receive little or no education.
In Rakhine State, Myanmar, six hundred thousand Rohingya live precariously. Many have been interred in camps for over a decade. They are all at risk of catastrophic and genocidal violence by the Myanmar military.
Welcoming the decisions, Maung Zarni, FRC co-founder and coordinator, said, “Since the coup of February 2021, there has been non-stop abuse and violation of rights. The military have displaced hundreds of thousands, killed over 2200 people in Myanmar and are working their way through every war crime and genocidal act.
Yet the people are fighting back with almost nothing. The least we expect is that countries pursue political, diplomatic and international legal mechanisms to help end the military’s impunity and impose accountability.”
Free Rohingya Coalition appeals to the USA to formally back the ongoing case brought by Gambia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which contends that Myanmar’s decades-long persecution of the Rohingya violates the Genocide Convention.
The US administration should consider the establishment of a special tribunal to try Myanmar military criminals under its own universal jurisdiction statutes concerning the crimes of genocide.
Moreover, whilst we recognise that The Gambia has support from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries, we appeal to individual OIC member states to formally declare and extend their support to The Gambia.
In conclusion, Free Rohingya Coalition appeals to all UN member states whose laws permit their judicial institutions to investigate and prosecute crimes under international law – no matter where they are committed – to do so with respect to Myanmar.
For more information, please contact:
Nay San Lwin: +49 176 62139138 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Burma Campaign UK
Burma Campaign UK welcomes UK Intervention in Rohingya genocide case at World Court
Burma Campaign UK today welcomed news that the British government has filed its intervention in the Rohingya genocide case at the International Court of Justice.
The UK government filed a joint declaration of intervention in the case with Canada, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The British government finally announced its intention to intervene in the case in August 2022, after a sustained campaign by Burma Campaign UK, Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, and with the support of more than 100 MPs, led by Rushanara Ali MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Rohingya and on Democracy in Burma.
“This strong intervention is significant and very welcome,” said Karin Valtersson, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “The British government failed to take action to try to prevent genocide so now has an obligation to hold those responsible to account. We now need to see the British government call a meeting of the UN Security Council to address the fact that the Burmese military are ignoring the court orders to prevent ongoing genocide of the Rohingya.”
Burma Campaign UK is also calling on the British government to reverse aid cuts of over 80% since 2020 to Rohingya refugees, who are genocide survivors, in Bangladesh.
The British government has a poor track record on the Rohingya, supporting permanently lifting economic sanctions in 2013 and offering training to the Burmese military despite escalating violence against the Rohingya at that time.
The British government deliberately misrepresented escalating violence and repression of the Rohingya as communal violence, as what was taking place did not fit the reform narrative the British government was promoting, prioritising trade and investment opportunities.
The British government also funded a census which excluded the Rohingya and provided support to the 2015 election, which excluded the Rohingya. These exclusions were stepping-stones towards genocide, funded and supported by the British government and other international donors.
The lack of international action on repression of the Rohingya gave a green light for continued repression, leading to the military offensives in 2016 and 2017, which United Nations investigators determined was genocide.
The British government consistently ignored and downplayed warnings about escalating attacks and repression of the Rohingya, including a call from Burma Campaign UK just before the 2017 offensive to call a UN Security Council meeting and try to avert new attacks.
Even after these genocidal attacks in 2016 and 2017, the British government refused to sanction senior leaders of the military and military companies providing revenue to the miliary. It was only after the coup began in 2021 that such sanctions were brought in.
No comprehensive review was ever carried out by the Foreign Office into mistakes that were made in the run up to the genocide of the Rohingya, so no lessons can be learned at an institutional level.
It took three years to persuade the British government to agree to intervene in the Rohingya genocide case at the ICJ, and it was only in September 2022 that the British government finally agreed that it would support the UN Security Council referring Burma to the International Criminal Court.
Despite evidence that the Burmese military is ignoring the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice to prevent ongoing genocide of the Rohingya, the British government has so far failed to act upon requests from Burma Campaign UK and Rohingya civil society organisations to convene a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss this.
The ICJ is a UN court and the UN Security Council has a responsibility to uphold rulings by the court. The British government is penholder on Burma at the UN Security Council so should be taking the lead in convening such a meeting.
The British government has also slashed aid to Rohingya refugees by a staggering 81% since 2020.
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