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McGovern Applauds International Court of Justice Ruling on Burma

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Washington, January 23, 2020 | comments

WORCESTER, MASS – United States Congressman James P. McGovern, Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. House of Representatives and a leading advocate for human rights around the world, issued this statement following an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling which ordered Burma to take emergency measures to protect its Muslim Rohingya population from persecution and atrocities, and to preserve evidence of alleged crimes against them:

“The ICJ’s ruling is very, very welcome. For years the Burmese government has treated the Rohingya people with breathtaking brutality and indifference. Today the International Court of Justice said enough is enough.

“The Court has in effect issued a restraining order to Burmese leaders to stop killing Rohingya, stop causing them bodily or mental harm and stop deliberately seeking their physical destruction. It should never be necessary to tell a government not to attack its own people. But thank goodness there are international institutions that still stand up for human rights and dignity.

“I call on the Burmese government to stop its campaign of denial and comply with the ICJ ruling.”

The unanimous ruling by the 15-member court is the first issued in response to a lawsuit by the Gambia that accused Burma of genocide against the Rohingya in violation of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The court ordered Burma to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts” prohibited under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Hundreds of thousands of predominantly Muslim Rohingya have been forced to flee Burma for squalid camps in Bangladesh due to military-led crackdowns against their communities in October 2016 and beginning again in August 2017. Last year investigators working under the auspices of the U.N. Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission concluded that the military had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity and found genocidal intent. The Burmese government has consistently denied the findings.

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