Dhaka, Bangladesh
Rohingya rights to Rakhine domicile recognised

Rohingya rights to Rakhine domicile recognised

Search for ways of restoration

News Special: Rohingya rights to Rakhine domicile is globally recognized through the interim UN court verdict but thoughts now revolver round how to enforce it as a defiant Myanmar demurs. Setting a new milestone in justice for humanity The Hague-based International Court of Justice Thursday delivered its orders binding upon Myanmar to prevent genocidal acts against the Rohingya and protect the ethnic minority in their homeland. The top UN court dismissed Myanmar's plea for disposing of the genocide case filed by The Gambia on behalf of the Muslim grouping OIC and asserted that some of the atrocities fall under the purview of the United Nations Genocide Convention adopted in 1948 against the backdrop of devastations and human-rights violations in the Second World War. In its landmark unanimous decision the world court asked for submitting compliance report within four months. As a safeguard against any recurrence of what even an independent panel formed few days back by Myanmar termed 'war crimes', the ICJ panel of judges asked that country to go on reporting compliance every six months after the first one. Praises were pouring in for the orders of justice to an ethnic minority uprooted from their native land. The United Nations, major countries and rights groups hailed the measures spelt out by the ICJ judges, with no exception-even none of the bigwig allies of Myanmar pronouncing any reservations so far. But, the reclusive regime of Myanmar appeared defiant. They dared to defy the universally-acclaimed remedies being evolved that should lead of repatriation of over a million Rohingya people camped in Bangladesh. The country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the proceedings presented a "distorted picture of the situation". Thousands of Rohingya died and more than 700,000 fled to Bangladesh in a latest exodus during an army crackdown in 2017. The measures imposed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are binding and not subject to appeal. However, the ICJ has no way of enforcing them. The court would refer the measures to the UN Security Council. The Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs said its own commission, the Independent Commission of Enquiry, found that there had been no genocide in Rakhine state. However, it did say that 'war crimes' had occurred, and were being investigated and prosecuted by Myanmar's national criminal justice system. It also blamed condemnation by "human rights actors" for affecting Myanmar's bilateral relations with some countries. "This has hampered Myanmar's ability to lay the foundation for sustainable development in Rakhine," it added in a statement. On the other hand, welcoming the order, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he trusts that Myanmar will duly comply with the court's orders. "In accordance with the Statute of the Court, the Secretary-General will promptly transmit the notice of the provisional measures ordered by the Court to the Security Council," said Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the UN chief. Briefing media at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday, Farhan said the UN Secretary-General also recalled that pursuant to the Charter and to the Statute of the Court, decisions of the Court are binding. In a sweeping legal victory for members of the Rohingya Muslim minority, the United Nations top court ordered Myanmar take all measures in its power to prevent genocide against the Rohingya people. The court's president, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, said the International Court of Justice "is of the opinion that the Rohingya in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable." The court added that its order for so-called provisional measures intended to protect the Rohingya is binding "and creates international legal obligations" on Myanmar. "I can say that the Secretary-General welcomes the Order of the International Court of Justice, indicating provisional measures in the case of The Gambia against Myanmar on the alleged breaches of the Genocide Convention," Farhan said. The Secretary-General strongly supports the use of peaceful means to settle international disputes, he added. After and above all, the core question revolves around accelerating the stalled process of repatriation of the Rohingyas camped in Bangladesh. The camp-dwellers offered prayers on hearing the news and hoped they should be able to return home at the earliest. And that depends on Myanmar ensuring safety and rights of the returnees at their rebuilt homes. "They will agree to return only if their rights and security are guaranteed," said Shamser Mobin Chowdhury. Another diplomatic expert mentioned the big powers involved with the issue, namely China, Russia and India, and said Bangladesh now should take arduous moves to prevail upon parties concerned to start the repatriation. "It may not be possible to achieve the goal in a win-win situation…," said Dr Rahman Nasir Uddin in a live media talk on the ICJ verdict. In November the Gambia filed the suit against Myanmar alleging it was committing "an ongoing genocide against its minority Muslim Rohingya population" and violating the 1948 Genocide Convention. In its application to the court, The Gambia requested six provisional measures requiring Myanmar to act "with immediate effect" to prevent further genocide of the Rohingya group and to take steps not to destroy or render inaccessible any evidence already described in the application. The Gambia also urged both sides not to take any action which might aggravate the dispute or render it more difficult to resolve, and to provide a report to the court on implementing such measures. The Gambia later also requested Myanmar cooperate with United Nations bodies that seek to investigate the alleged acts. Repatriation of the over a million displaced Myanmar minority people, camped in Bangladesh, had been under a bilateral-negotiation process for long. But the bilateral solution looked to have bogged down to procrastination on part of the military-dominated Myanmar government, analysts here say. Against this backdrop came the move from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation or OIC to take the issue to the International Court of Justice for establishing the legal rights of the Rohingya. Bangladesh, having been burdened with recurrent influx of Rohingyas in the face of crackdown by security personnel and a section of Buddhist jingoists in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, had moved the issue at the United Nations for a solution. China and Russia had persuaded Dhaka into going for a negotiated solution at bilateral level, reports say. With Beijing playing the go-between, a bilateral deal was signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar for their repatriation. Several rounds of talks were held, but to no avail so far, although there were reports of building barracks-type homes for their resettlement in the areas where their houses were razed. In a poetic justice, though, Aung San Suu Kyi, for whose freedom from internment the world had once fought, had to stand at the UN court to face genocide charges against her government forces. Two set dates for the start of repatriation passed by sans avail for last-minute complications. Now, the interim order from the UN justice body should be a pathfinder for an amicable solution in the last resort. Inputs taken from agencies

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