Intervention by HE Ms. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative at the meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of NAM on Rohingya issue, 26 February 2020

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates.

Allow me to join other colleagues in congratulating you on your commendable stewardship of the Movement.

Since I am addressing the NAM Coordinating Bureau for the first time, at the outset I would like to convey my deepest appreciation to you all, for the important work you have been doing at the UN to uphold multilateralism. I thank you for this opportunity, Mr. Chairman, to appraise the Group on the Rohingya situation.

The Rohingya crisis is one of the gravest humanitarian crises of our time. We are grateful to note that it has not escaped the attention of the Movement. In fact, it found strong reference in the Final Document of the 18th NAM Summit in Baku last October, which was later issued as a UN document (A/74/548), where our Heads of State and Government stressed the need for creating a conducive environment in the Rakhine state by Myanmar for the safe, secure and dignified return of the Rohingyas. Drawing on that commitment of our Heads of State and Government, we feel that it is incumbent on the Movement to remain seized of the matter.

As you may be aware, the International Court of Justice announced on 23 January 2020, its unanimous decision to order provisional measures asking Myanmar to take certain steps to address the crisis. It is important to note that the measures were unanimously decided. The Court reaffirmed that its order on provisional measures has a binding effect and thus create international legal obligations for any party to whom the provisional measures are addressed. The Court’s order serves to restore faith in the international justice system in ensuring accountability.

You may have further seen that the Order of the Court relied heavily on the GA resolutions (73/264 & 74/246) on this issue in arriving at the provisional measures. Both the resolutions were supported by the overwhelming majority of NAM countries. I would like to express our gratitude to you all for this.

We believe the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council—all can pick up their relevant elements from the Order and decide on their next course.

The provisional measures have already been transmitted to the Security Council by the Secretary-General. ICJ’s jurisdiction is a tool available to the Council to peacefully settle international disputes endangering international peace and security. The UN Charter also gives the Council the responsibility for addressing instances of non-compliance by parties with the Court’s judgments.

The Rohingya crisis, apart from the onerous socio-economic-environmental challenges, has also brought for Bangladesh the inherent risk of radicalization. This may have potentially destabilizing security implications for the region. The crisis has entered its third year, and despite all-out efforts including at the bilateral level, not a single Rohingya out of the 1.2 million we are hosting has agreed to return. That creates an urgency for stepping up multilateral efforts.

NAM has always been at the forefront of upholding the human rights of the oppressed people of the world, and it was from that commitment that The Gambia, a fellow NAM member, took the initiative to lodge the case in the ICJ. It would also be pertinent to note that another fellow NAM member state, the Maldives, announced yesterday that they will be filing a written declaration of intervention at the ICJ in the case in support of the Rohingya people. It is, therefore, gratifying to see that the Movement is living up to its high ideals. We should be proud of this spirit of solidarity.

Given the strong political pronouncement by our leaders at the last Summit on this issue, we hope to receive the Movement’s continued support in resolving this crisis. We have as many as seven members of NAM in the Council which is very reassuring. We seek their assistance in making special efforts to sensitize the Council in finding a solution to the crisis which lies in addressing the root causes, and in ensuring the safe, dignified and voluntary return of the Rohingyas to their homeland. We have every faith that they would do the needful.

I thank you.