The luxury tourist destination of the Maldives has hired prominent human rights lawyer Amal Clooney to represent it at the UN’s highest court in seeking justice for Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims.
The Maldivian government said Wednesday it will formally join the mainly Muslim African state of The Gambia in challenging Myanmar’s 2017 military crackdown that sent around 740,000 Rohingya fleeing into neighbouring Bangladesh.
In a unanimous ruling last month, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Buddhist-majority Myanmar to implement emergency measures to prevent the genocide of Rohingya — pending a full case that could take years.
Clooney successfully represented former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed and secured a UN decision that his 2015 jailing for 13 years was illegal.
With the fall of strongman president Abdulla Yameen in 2018, Nasheed as well as several other dissidents in the Sunni Muslim nation of 340,000 have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Nasheed is currently the atoll nation’s speaker in the national legislature.
The government said it welcomed the ICJ’s decision to order provisional measures to secure the rights of victims in Myanmar and prevent the destruction of evidence in the ongoing case.
“Accountability for genocide in Myanmar is long overdue and I look forward to working on this important effort to seek judicial remedies for Rohingya survivors,” Clooney was quoted as saying by the Maldivian government.
Thousands are suspected to have been killed in the Rohingya crackdown and refugees brought widespread reports of rape and arson by Myanmar’s military and local Buddhist militias.