One hundred and four British parliamentarians have asked the UK government to formally engage at the International Court of Justice to prevent genocidal violence against the minority ethnic Rohingya people by extending formal support to the case filed by the Gambia.
“Ending impunity is essential not only to ensure justice and uphold international law, but also to deter further acts of genocide by the military and government in Myanmar,” said the bipartisan parliamentarians in a joint memorandum to British secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs Dominic Raab on Thursday.
A UN Fact-Finding Mission in 2019 made strong recommendations that the Myanmar military should be investigated and prosecuted in an international criminal tribunal for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
There is no sign of any change by the Myanmar government that would create conditions for safe return for Rohingya refugees, they said.
With Russia and China blocking a full referral of Myanmar to the International Criminal Court by the UN Security Council, joining the Gambia case at the ICJ “is the best available avenue for pursuing justice and ending impunity,” they said.
“It is essential the British government throws it full weight behind this case,” they said in the statement signed by Rushanara Ali MP and former British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt MP, who are co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Rights of the Rohingya.
Without justice, recognition of their rights and citizenship, the Rohingya will remain in limbo as refugees in Bangladesh and across the region, they said.
The UK must show leadership and uphold human rights and international laws on the world stage by formally joining the International Court of Justice case, they said.
Failure to secure justice sends a dangerous message that ethnic cleansing and genocide are acceptable policy tools for repressive governments across the globe, they added.
Diana Abbott, Rupa Huq, Debbie Abrahams, Zarah Sultana, Dan Jarvis and Lord Adonis were among the 104 parliamentarians who made the statement.