Finally, what the Rohingyas have been crying out about and what Bangladesh has been saying at the top of its voice has been recognised at the World Court. We hope the whole world is now listening at last.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, in a momentous decision, ordered Myanmar to carry out emergency, “provisional” measures to protect its Rohingya population from genocidal violence and preserve evidence of alleged crimes against them. Declaring there is prima facie evidence of breaches of the 1948 genocide convention, the court found that the Rohingyas remaining in Myanmar were “extremely vulnerable” to violence at the hands of Myanmar’s military. And, therefore, the panel of 17 judges, in its unanimous ruling, asked Myanmar to report back to it within four months on the actions it has taken to prevent any serious harm being done to the Rohingyas—and every six months thenceforth.
We owe a debt of gratitude to The Gambia for bringing this matter to the attention of the ICJ. Despite the fact that the ruling dealt only with the Gambia’s request for so-called preliminary measures, the equivalent of a restraining order for states—not the court’s final decision—it nevertheless could pave the way for Myanmar to finally be held accountable for its atrocities against the Rohingyas. Sadly, some of these atrocities could have been prevented, had the international community acted faster to protect the Rohingyas.
This genocide, which the world is yet to recognise, is a good example of how so-called proponents of justice and fairness are unwilling to recognise the most egregious crimes against a helpless population, for their own convenience. Bangladesh has even had to witness two of its closest friends, China and India, refusing to condemn the seriousness of the crimes Myanmar committed against the Rohingyas. India, with which Bangladesh’s relationship is at an all-time high, as both sides never fail to proclaim, has also refused to acknowledge the reality which was happening next door to them.
Now that what Bangladesh has been saying has found a voice at the World Court, we once again appeal to the entire world to step up its effort to assist Bangladesh in protecting the Rohingyas, and to hold Myanmar accountable for its many crimes that must not be ignored any longer.