February 5, 2020

Europeans demand Rohingya justice at UN


James Reinl
Diplomats bash Myanmar’s human rights record after Security Council closed-door meeting


Myanmar must start prosecuting those responsible for atrocities against its mostly-Muslim Rohingya minority and uphold decisions by international judges, European diplomats said Tuesday in New York.

Speaking with reporters after a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council, Estonia’s Ambassador Sven Jurgenson, said last month’s ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague must be followed.

“We urge Myanmar to comply with the provisional measures indicated by the ICJ which we recall are compulsory under international law and to take credible action to bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations,” said Jurgenson.

Reading a statement on behalf of the council’s European Union members, Jurgenson called on Myanmar to "facilitate a voluntary safe dignified and sustainable return of the Rohingya to Myanmar” after the atrocities and mass exodus of 2017.

Myanmar officials must “address the root causes of its conflicts in Rakhine state,” the western region where widespread abuses against Rohingya were documented, as well as in Kachin and Shan states, added Jurgenson.

“Accountability of perpetrators of human rights and humanitarian law violations is a necessary part of this process,” added the diplomat, who was accompanied by the UN ambassadors of Belgium, France, Germany, and Poland.

Last month, the ICJ imposed emergency “provisional measures” on Myanmar and instructed the government of Aung San Suu Kyi to respect the requirements and prevent genocidal violence against Rohingya Muslims and preserve evidence of past crimes.

The predominantly Muslim African nation of Gambia brought the ICJ case against Myanmar after 700,000 Rohingya fled across the border into Bangladesh, recounting harrowing tales of rape, arson and mass killings by security forces.

Decisions by the ICJ, which was set up after World War II to settle disputes between states, are binding, but the court has no means to enforce rulings.

Myanmar has maintained its military campaign, which it claims was waged to tackle an extremist threat in Rakhine state. 
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