Ever imagined what it’s like coming to The Hague and having to quickly get your head around the complexities of international law (as practised at the top UN court – the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – in all its finery), so that you can explain it all to victims on the ground? Want to know more: welcome to the world of three amazing Myanmar activists who let us ask them what it’s like.
They were here in The Hague in December 2018 for the provisional measures hearing at the ICJ. What’s the ICJ I hear you ask. Check out Priya Pillai’s accessible intro. Provisional Measures? We’ve got you covered here. Why is gender front and centre of the case? Akila Radhakrishnan explains. And if you’d like to know more about what provisional measures the Gambia requested from the ICJ against Myanmar, how the genocide convention may apply, the context of the 2017 military crackdown against the Rohingya in Rakhine state with soldiers burning villages, alleged mass killings and mass rapes causing over 700,000 people to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh – Stephanie and I described it all in highly non-technical detail here.
The activists we met are based all over the world – a sign of how many Rohingya have relocated out of Myanmar. Former political prisoner Wai Wai Nu has been studying at Berkeley Law School in the United States. Yasmin Ullah is based in Canada and both studies and works with Rohingya Human Rights Network and Karen activist Myra Dahgaypaw is from US Campaign for Burma. They all took time from their busy schedules to explain how they see their roles.