Global Justice Center Blog

International Law and the Plight of the Rohingyas: Insights from International Dispute Settlement

The situation of the Rohingya community in Myanmar and Bangladesh is under intense scrutiny by the international community. Currently, a case is pending before the International Court of Justice concerning Myanmar’s alleged responsibility for genocide, an investigation is on-going at the International Criminal Court and several fact-finding mechanisms are working on gathering evidence of the events. This panel will address whether and how international dispute settlement can assist in solving the numerous, complex issues raised by the events in Rakhine State (Myanmar).

Speakers:

  • Michael A. Becker, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Trinity College Dublin
  • Miriam Cohen, Professeure Adjointe, University of Montreal
  • Akila Radhakrishnan, President, Global Justice Centre
  • Yasmin Ullah, Human Rights Activist, Member of the Rohingya community

U.N. calls for democracy in Myanmar following military coup

Excerpt of UPI article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

"This is not how the Security Council runs its day-to-day work, nor will it be conducive to the solidarity of and mutual trust between Security Council members," he said.

Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, said the Security Council statement provided "some relief" following the negotiations but that it will be meaningful if not "followed by formal action."

"It is crucial the council listens to communities most at risk in Myanmar, who have been clear from the beginning that targeted sanctions on the military and military-owned companies, an arms embargo and efforts to hold the military accountable are the concrete actions that international community must take to address this emergency," Radhakrishnan said in a statement on Thursday.

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The Biden Administration’s Moves to Protect Abortion are Good, Just Not Good Enough

Excerpt of Women's Media Center op-ed by GJC Special Counsel Michelle Onello.

On January 28, the Biden administration issued a much-anticipated Presidential Memorandum “protecting women’s health at home and abroad” that reversed four anti-abortion policies adopted under the Trump administration. While this move undoes some of the harm done to reproductive rights over the last four years, it falls far short of being the “bold and proactive” policy package demanded by reproductive rights activists.

This failure will be felt as more conservative state legislatures pursue anti-abortion measures and the Supreme Court — made significantly more conservative by President Trump — is likely to hear cases in the near future that could provide an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. It also highlights a sense of urgency — we may have only two years of a Democratically-controlled White House and Congress to secure lasting progress on abortion rights.

During the 2020 election, then-candidate Biden issued a detailed Agenda for Womenthat recognized a “woman’s constitutional right under Roe v. Wade” and pledged to take action against attempts to violate this right.

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Myanmar lodges objections in Rohingya genocide case

Excerpt of Al Jazeera article that quotes a GJC factsheet.

This week’s coup could bring further complications, with the military that orchestrated the crackdown once again in control and the country’s elected civilian leaders in detention.

“In principle the coup has no direct impact on the ICJ case,” international rights group Global Justice Center said in a statement. “For the ICJ’s own purposes, it is the state of Myanmar, however constructed, that is the subject of this case and changes in political leadership have no bearing. The coup does however, raise other questions, including whether a military-led government will continue to engage with and defend the case, as well as how the Court will view compliance with the provisional measures orders.”

In January last year, the court told Myanmar to take provisional measures to “protect against further, irreparable harm to the rights of the Rohingya group under the Genocide Convention” and ordered the country to report on the situation every six months.

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UN Security Council Finds Rare Unity in Criticizing Myanmar Coup

Excerpt of Bloomberg article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

China’s diplomats sought to strike a balance by supporting the Security Council statement while issuing a separate statement noting that China is a “friendly neighbor” of Myanmar and highlighting that the council is calling for “dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.”

“It is some relief for the people of Myanmar that the UN Security Council finally took action today by agreeing on a statement concerning the military coup,” Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the New York-based Global Justice Center, said in a statement. “But thanks to recent, historic levels of gridlock on the Council, the bar has been set far too low. If this statement is not followed by formal action, it is meaningless.”

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