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Gambia argues use of forced starvation against the Rohingya in its ICJ submissions

18 November 2019

On 11 November 2019 the Republic of the Gambia filed its submissions at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Myanmar for alleged violations of the Genocide Convention. Citing reports of the UN Special Rapporteur, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the UN Fact-Finding Missions, Gambia has argued that “to implement its policy of forced starvation of the Rohingya group, Myanmar has engaged in widespread confiscation of agricultural lands on which the Rohingya grow subsistence crops essential to their survival” and that the Rohingya population still present in Myanmar is in grave danger of further genocidal acts and continue to “face daily threats of death, torture, rape, starvation and other deliberate actions aimed at their collective destruction, in whole or in part.” (para 104, 131)


This filing is a significant step towards accountability of the Rohingya atrocities on an international level. GRC regularly engages in a number of projects that relate to the Rohingya and starvation. At the end of May 2018, GRC filed submissions on behalf of 400 Rohingya women and children at the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) urging the Court to accept its jurisdiction to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute the crimes of genocide, deportation, apartheid and persecution committed by the Myanmar authorities against the Rohingya. Accepting these submissions, the ICC expanded its jurisdiction and on 14 November 2019, has authorised the ICC Prosecutor to initiate investigations into these alleged crimes.


In October 2019, GRC in partnership with Legal Action Worldwide (LAW), organised a meeting titled Myanmar/Burma: Accountability Strategy Meeting to formulate an accountability strategy (both criminal and civil) for the Rohingya through utilising both domestic and international mechanisms. The meeting saw 20 participants from international organisations and NGOs, including from Myanmar. Currently, GRC is running a Test Case Programme with organisations in Bangladesh to test the functionality and content of the new Basic Investigative Standards (BIS) App.


For more on GRC’s starvation work and Rohingya Accountability Project, please see GRC website and

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