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Press briefing notes Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Press briefing note on Myanmar

24 January 2020

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:  Liz Throssell

Location: Geneva 

Date: 24 January 2020

Subject:   Myanmar    

We welcome the Order by the International Court of Justice that Myanmar must take "all measures within its power" to protect the members of the Rohingya group from all future acts that may amount to genocide under the provisions of Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.*  

The High Commissioner has repeatedly expressed serious concerns about the situation of the Rohingya following the repeated waves of violence suffered by them, most recently in 2016 and 2017. She has frequently called for the full protection of their human rights, and genuine accountability for the serious violations and abuses they have endured. 

As the Secretary-General noted yesterday, these provisional measures indicated by the Court are binding under international law.  

The UN Human Rights Office calls on Myanmar to immediately and unconditionally implement them in full, consistently with its obligations under the Charter and the Court's Statute.  

The proceedings before the Court are vitally important, opening up a path towards judicial determination of Myanmar's possible responsibility as a State under the Genocide Convention for the acts of persecution and severe repression of the Rohingya. Alongside other international investigative and accountability processes that are likewise ongoing, we urge the authorities of Myanmar to cooperate fully with all of these inquiries, and at the same time to take active, effective steps enabling the Rohingya to live in peace and dignity in Myanmar, able to enjoy all their human rights.       

We note that the Court, for purposes of its decision yesterday, repeatedly referenced the conclusions of the International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the resolutions of the UN General Assembly addressing the situation of the Rohingya. The Fact-Finding Mission last year concluded that there was a serious risk that genocidal actions directed at the Rohingya may recur. More broadly, the Fact-Finding Mission also identified human rights abuses by the military against other ethnic minorities during decades of conflict. Addressing these legacies of impunity remains an essential precondition to a future of sustainable peace and enduring justice for all people in Myanmar. 



Under these measures, Myanmar is specifically ordered, in relation to the members of the Rohingya group on its territory, to take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts of genocide, as defined in the Convention, and to ensure that its military, as well as any irregular armed units which may be subject to its control, direction or influence, do not commit any such acts, or of conspiracy  to commit genocide, of direct and public incitement to commit genocide, of attempt to commit genocide, or of complicity in genocide. Myanmar is also ordered by the Court to take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of genocide, as defined in the Convention, and to report to the Court on all measures taken to give effect to the Order within four months of the Order, and every six months thereafter, until final decision of the Court on the case. 

For more information and media requests, please contact: Jeremy Laurence - 41 22 917 9383 /[email protected]; Liz Throssell - + 41 22 917 0905 /[email protected] or Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 /[email protected]

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