Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

United Nations rights boss says can't rule out crime of genocide against Rohingya

A local aid agency in the region also said the girls as young as 13 were being abducted that has seen a surge in trafficking A local aid agency in the region also said the girls as young as 13 were being abducted that has seen a surge in trafficking
Marlene Weaver | 06 December, 2017, 04:24

"Considering Rohingyas' self-identify as a distinct ethnic group with their own language and culture - and [that they] are also deemed by the perpetrators themselves as belonging to a different ethnic, national, racial or religious group - given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?"

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, addressing a special session of the Human Rights Council, said that none of the 626,000 Rohingya who have fled violence since August should be repatriated to Myanmar unless there was robust monitoring on the ground.

The top United Nations human rights official is condemning the persecution, and widespread and systematic brutal attacks against the Rohingya in Myanmar, suggesting this treatment might verge on genocide.

Zeid said actions by Myanmar's government to "dehumanize" the Rohingya minority were likely to fan more violence and affect more communities across the region. He referred to allegations of killings by grenades, shootings at close range, stabbings and "the burning of houses with families inside".

He told the session that his country was hosting almost one million "Myanmar nationals" following summary executions and rapes "as a weapon of persecution". But rights groups say the conditions are not in place to ensure safe, voluntary and dignified returns.

Zeid said his Office had sent three teams to Bangladesh this year to monitor the situation and interview refugees.

Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been the target of global vitriol for a perceived failure to stand up for the stateless minority.

He also urged providing the Rohingya Muslims with humanitarian and relief assistance and reconstructing areas destroyed by state authorities in Myanmar.

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Zeid lamented the refusal inside Myanmar but also by some worldwide players to even name the Rohingyas, creating "a shameful paradox".

He cited a long list of atrocities Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh say they have suffered, describing them as "acts of appalling barbarity".

But Myanmar's refusal to acknowledge the Rohingya "remains a stumbling block" for any negotiations, Bangladesh's ambassador said on Monday.

Prosecutions for the violence and rapes against Rohingya "appear extremely rare", Zeid said.

"The allegations are numerous and many of extreme severity", Darusman said.

Myanmar does not accept its jurisdiction, meaning the Security Council's unanimous support would be needed to force an investigation.

Marzuki Darusman, head of an independent global fact-finding mission on Myanmar, said by video from Malaysia: "We will go where the evidence leads us". The Myanmar Government has said its latest campaign in northern Rakhine was in response to attacks by insurgents. "We maintain hope that it will be granted early in 2018".

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