Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Myanmar forces may be guilty of genocide, United Nations says

Mohhamad Hussein, who arrived in Bangladesh in October holds a discarded syringe that he was playing with at the Thankhali refugee camp in Coxs Bazar Dec. 2 2017 Ed Jones AFP Getty Images
Kenny Thornton | 07 December, 2017, 19:11

The United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights says the mounting evidence of military-perpetrated atrocities against Rohingya Muslims could constitute global criminal law's most serious charge. Such a designation is rare under worldwide law, but has been used in contexts including Bosnia, Sudan and an Islamic State campaign against the Yazidi communities in Iraq and Syria.

The House passed a resolution on Tuesday, urging immediate restoration of humanitarian access to the Rakhine state where unrest has forced over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.

Up until this point, United Nations officials have described the crisis as "ethnic cleansing" but the term genocide would increase pressure on officials in Myanmar. He said that further efforts were needed to ensure the early return of the Rohingya refugees in an acceptable environment of safety and dignity to their ancestral homes in Myanmar.

"Can anyone - can anyone - rule out that elements of genocide may be present?" he told the 47-member state forum.

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These included allegations of security forces "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", he added. Bangladesh now hosts about one million Rohingya. This called for reconciliation, which could come about only when discrimination against the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar ended.

While conditions for the Rohingya are awful, IOM spokesman Joel Millman says this huge refugee influx into Cox's Bazar is having a severe impact on the impoverished host communities in the region.

According to Reuters, Myanmar denies committing atrocities against the Rohingya.

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