United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed Thursday a court’s decision to order Myanmar to prevent any further genocide against its persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, reports Anadolu Agency.
A statement from the UN chief’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, voiced support for the unanimous decision by judges earlier at the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Myanmar must do more to protect the Rohingya.
Myanmar officials are now obliged to prevent violence against Rohingya “including killing, causing serious bodily or mental harm, deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s destruction and imposing measures intended to prevent births,” said Dujarric. Guterres “notes the court’s instruction to Myanmar to ensure that its military, as well as any irregular armed units directed or supported by it and any organizations and persons subject to its control, do not commit such acts,” added Dujarric.
The UN spokesman also urged the government in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw, to “ensure the preservation of evidence” from the 2017 crackdown against the mostly-Muslim minority in the country’s western Rakhine state.
The predominantly Muslim African nation of Gambia brought the ICJ case against Myanmar after more than 700,000 Rohingya fled across the border into Bangladesh, recounting harrowing tales of rape, arson and mass killings by security forces. Gambia brought the case with support from the 57-nation Organisation for Islamic Cooperation.
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, a mostly Buddhist nation, has maintained its military campaign was waged to tackle an extremist threat in Rakhine state. The country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, defended her country against the claims at the ICJ last month.