United Nations human rights chief cites 'elements of genocide' in Myanmar's Rohingya crisis

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More than 600,000 Rohingya are languishing in Bangladeshi refugee camps after fleeing a brutal Myanmar army campaign launched in late August.

"How much do people have to endure before their suffering is acknowledged and their identity and rights are recognised, by their government and by the world?" he asked.

With his government in the spotlight, the ambassador said the priority should be on returning displaced people to Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Instead, it issued a presidential statement calling on the Myanmar government to end the use of excessive military force and intercommunal violence that has devastated Rohingya communities during the military crackdowns.

He described reports of "acts of appalling barbarity committed against the Rohingya, including deliberately burning people to death inside their homes, murders of children and adults; indiscriminate shooting of fleeing civilians; widespread rapes of women and girls, and the burning and destruction of houses, schools, markets and mosques".

Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh's state minister for foreign affairs, warned that the massive exodus over such a short period was "comparable only with the exodus following the 1994 Rwanda genocide".

Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh's junior foreign affairs minister, told the session in Geneva that his country was hosting almost one million "Myanmar nationals" following executions and rapes.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, U.N. high commissioner for human rights, urged the Geneva-based Council to recommend that the U.N. General Assembly establish a new mechanism for assisting with criminal investigations of perpetrators of violence against Rohingya Muslims.


A top Myanmar diplomat has rejected allegations by the United Nations human rights chief that the country's government has taken action to "dehumanize" Rohingya Muslims.

According to the UN's top expert on the situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, Myanmar authorities appear to have already started building camps for returnees, raising serious concerns about the conditions the Rohingya would return to.

Additional investigations by Pramila Patten, the United Nations special representative dealing with sexual violence in conflict, are focusing on reports of widespread sexual assaults by the Myanmar military.

"The adoption of today's resolution demonstrates the broad worldwide concern about the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people so brutally impacted by the ongoing crimes against humanity in Myanmar's Rakhine State".

He spoke at a special council session on the Rohingya on Tuesday.

"The U.N. resolution makes clear that the worldwide community retains a watchful eye over the plight of the Rohingya and demands action", said Laila Matar, senior U.N. advocate at Human Rights Watch, in a printed statement.

Thirty-three of the council's 47 members backed the text listing a long line of horrific abuses, including summary killings of children, rape, torture and large-scale forced displacement, which it said indicated "the very likely commission of crimes against humanity".

In March, the Council created a three-person independent fact-finding mission to investigate alleged human rights violations by the Myanmar military and security forces in the northern part of Rakhine.

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