The May 23 deadline came and went for the Myanmar government to report on its compliance with the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) order to take “provisional measures” to protect the Rohingya, yet nothing has been done for the country’s persecuted minority.
“Despite the International Court’s order nothing has changed for the estimated 600,000 Rohingya who live in Rakhine State in dire conditions, including around 126,000 whom the authorities are holding indefinitely in camps.”Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Asia said.
“The Rohingya in Rakhine State are still denied their rights to nationality, freedom of movement and access to services, including healthcare. They are also caught in an escalating armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army.”
Bequelin also said that the government ordered internet blackouts have kept the Rohingya and other minorities in Rakhine and Chin States deprived of potentially life-saving information especially in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While Myanmar’s recent presidential directives ordering government personnel not to commit genocide or destroy evidence appear in line with the International Court order, the reality remains that no meaningful steps to end atrocities – including the crime of apartheid – have been taken,” Bequelin said.
Amnesty International also pointed out that until there is genuine accountability for those responsible for crimes under international law, there is little hope for improvement in the lives of the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States.
It said that these populations still suffer from widespread human rights violations at the hands of the Myanmar authorities.
Amnesty International renews its call for the UN Security Council to urgently refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court.
On November 11, 2019, The Gambia filed a case at the ICJ, accusing Myanmar of breaching its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention. The complaint included an urgent request for the Court to order “provisional measures” to prevent all acts that may amount to or contribute to the crime of genocide against the Rohingya and protect the community from further harm while the case is being adjudicated.
Public hearings on provisional measures were held in The Hague on December 10 – 12, 2019. Myanmar’s delegation, headed by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, denied accusations of genocide, and urged the Court to reject the case and refuse the request for provisional measures.
On January 23, 2020 the ICJ granted the provisional measures and ordered Myanmar to report back on their implementation within four months, and every six months thereafter until the case concludes.
The decision required Myanmar to “take all measures within its power” to protect the Rohingya from genocide, to ensure the preservation of evidence relating to allegations of genocide and to prevent “public incitement” to commit genocide.
The order came only a few days after the Myanmar government-established Independent Commission of Enquiry submitted its final report on Rakhine State to the President of Myanmar.
The Commission concluded that while the Myanmar security forces may have been responsible for war crimes and “disproportionate use of force”, it found no evidence of genocidal intent. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)