Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Treatment of Rohingya May Contain Elements of Genocide — UN Official

Treatment of Rohingya May Contain Elements of Genocide — UN Official

But in his address to Tuesday's special council session, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein went even further.

Zeid, who told the Council in September that the brutal campaign against Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine state appeared to be a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing", said that credible reports indicated widespread, systematic, and brutal attacks against the Rohingya by Myanmar security forces with witnesses in different locations giving consistent accounts of the atrocities.

"Given all of this, can anyone - can anyone - rule out that elements of genocide may be present?"

Supreme Court (SC) today is going to begin once more the hearing of plea of two "hingya refugees" aligned with the Centre's verdict to expel Rohingya Muslim reverse to Myanmar.The apex court on last months delayed the matter after approving to the demand of senior advocate Fali S Nariman, who appear for the two refugees - Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir.

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

Since August, an estimated 626,000 refugees - or more than half the Rohingya population of Rakhine state - have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

But Zeid slammed the government's inaction, warning that "by continuing to dehumanise the Rohingya, the state authorities will fuel even wider levels of violence in the future, drawing in communities from across the region".

While not using the name Rohingya, the ambassador said any "dehumanization" of people in Myanmar "could be an act of extremist individuals".

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".

Bangladesh, which along with Saudi Arabia had requested the special session, meanwhile voiced disappointment that Tuesday's resolution was not adopted by consensus, given the severity of the crisis.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the Human Rights Council had sent a strong message to the Myanmar government that the world will not turn away from the Rohingya crisis.

These crimes had been "perpetrated by Myanmar security forces and extremist Buddhist vigilantes", Alam said, calling for an end to what he called "xenophobic rhetoric...including from higher echelons of the government and the military".

After months of hard negotiations, Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a deal in late-November to begin repatriating refugees within two months. But rights groups say the conditions are not in place to ensure safe, voluntary and dignified returns.

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

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".

Marzuki Darusman, the head of the United Nations fact-finding mission, told the council via video conference that his investigators had "not yet come to any conclusion on these issues".

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