Fortify Rights has said the International Court of Justice (ICJ) should issue “provisional measures” to Myanmar in response to the urgent situation of indigenous ethnic Rohingyas in the country.
New evidence shows how the government of Myanmar continues to violate its obligations under the Genocide Convention, said the rights body which works to ensure human rights for all.
“We’re confident the court will urgently and appropriately respond to the situation,” said Matthew Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Fortify Rights.
“Myanmar authorities are defiant and continue to violate the rights of the Rohingya. These ongoing violations aggravate the issue of genocide before the court and require urgent action.”
New evidence indicates how Myanmar authorities are using Rohingyas for slave labour, including child slave-labour, systematically restricting freedom of movement, and denying the existence of Rohingyas and their right to a nationality, it said on Saturday.
The ICJ—the principal judicial organ of the United Nations—will hold public hearings in The Hague from December 10 to 12 as part of a case brought by The Gambia on November 11 against Myanmar for allegedly violating the Genocide Convention in its attempts to destroy Rohingya Muslims as a group.
The court will consider the Gambia’s request for “provisional measures,” which are binding orders from the court to the parties in the case to prevent further violation of the rights in dispute while the case is pending.
State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi will lead the Myanmar delegation to the court.
The Gambia requested the court indicate provisional measures to Myanmar “as a matter of extreme urgency” and “to protect against further, irreparable harm to the rights of the Rohingya group under the Genocide Convention, which continue to be violated with impunity.”
In previous cases before the court, the ICJ indicated provisional measures when it found that it was “not inconceivable” that the violations in dispute might occur again and where the affected group remained at risk of additional violations. In the current case before the court, these conditions for provisional measures are met.
“Rohingyas in Myanmar are at grave risk,” said Matthew Smith. “The government continues to deny any violations against Rohingyas and is using the ICJ case to rouse nationalistic, anti-Rohingya sentiment at home, which could easily turn deadly. Provisional measures are certainly needed.”
The UN member states that are signatories to the Genocide Convention are able to support cases before the ICJ through public statements calling for specific actions and through interventions to the ICJ that provide interpretations of the Genocide Convention as it pertains to the specific case.
Fortify Rights has called for UN member states to support the ICJ case against Myanmar, including by offering technical assistance in evidence gathering and financial support to The Gambia.
Fortify Rights also reiterated its recommendation that the UN Security Council urgently refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or create an ad hoc criminal tribunal.
“The international community should support all initiatives for justice as well as seek alternative solutions to the ongoing violations in Myanmar,” said Matthew Smith. “Every possible avenue for justice, accountability, and the protection of rights should be used without delay.”