The United Nations’ top court has ordered the government of Myanmar to take urgent measures to prevent genocide against the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in the majority-Buddhist country.
The ruling comes more than two years after Myanmar’s military led a brutal crackdown against the Rohingya and forced over 700,000 refugees to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
The unanimous ruling from the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, demands that the Myanmar government prevent any genocidal acts and preserve all evidence of state-led atrocities against the minority, including murder, torture, rape and arson.
“The ICJ order to Myanmar to take concrete steps to prevent the genocide of the Rohingya is a landmark step to stop further atrocities against one of the world’s most persecuted people,” said Param-Preet Singh, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “Concerned governments and U.N. bodies should now weigh in to ensure that the order is enforced as the genocide case moves forward.”
The legally binding provisional measures, pending a full case, come in response to a case brought in November by Gambia, alleging Myanmar’s government committed “genocidal acts” intended to “destroy” the Rohingya minority during a deadly 2017 military campaign.
Gambian officials brought the case on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a coalition of 57 Muslim-majority states. In a statement, the OIC welcomed the ruling and urged the international community to “redouble all diplomatic and political endeavors to ensure the safety and protection of the Rohingya Muslim minority.”
Activists around the world working for Rohingya rights lauded the ruling.
“It is a great day for those fighting to prevent genocide in the world,” said Imam Malik Mujahid, who heads the Burma Task Force in Chicago. (Myanmar was formerly known as Burma.) ” … The world must now ensure that Burma abides by this ruling. Burma and Bangladesh must both allow Rohingya the right to education, the right to earn a living and the right to travel freely as soon as possible.”
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Source: Religion News Service