UN rights expert calls for end to ‘purgatory’ of ‘international inaction’ facing Myanmar’s remaining Rohingya

UNHCR/Roger Arnold Rohingya families arrive at a UNHCR transit centre near the village of Anjuman Para, Cox’s Bazar, south-east Bangladesh after spending four days stranded at the Myanmar border with some 6,800 refugees. (file)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


A humanitarian crisis fuelled by the suppression of basic human rights is continuing across Myanmar’s Rakhine state, a UN Human Rights Council-appointed expert said on Monday, in an appeal for alleged atrocities there to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Presenting her latest report to the 47-Member body in Geneva, Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, highlighted several areas of concern across the country, including grave abuses linked to the mass exodus of some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine in August 2017, which was sparked by separatist violence against police posts.

A separate Council-appointed probe last year called for the prosecution of top Myanmar military commanders for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In reply, Myanmar’s Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic to the UN in Geneva, rejected the Special Rapporteur’s update.

Rohingya ‘torched their own houses’ officials claim

Among her findings, Ms. Lee noted that just last week she had received a report that 24 Rohingya houses in the town of Buthidaung in Rakhine, had been burned down, which officials explained afterwards by saying that the owners had torched the properties themselves.

Under the terms of a 2018 UN led agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh – which hosts more than a million Rohingyas in exile – Myanmar has agreed to create conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees.

Today, the conditions of this Memorandum of Understanding have not been met, the Special Rapporteur said.

The deal “expires in a few months”, she added, insisting that there was “nothing to indicate that conditions have improved for the Rohingya who remain in Myanmar”.

Staying with Rakhine state, the Special Rapporteur maintained that clashes between the separatist Arakan Army and the Myanmar military had forced 10,000 people to flee since November.

“Allegations exist of fighters dressing as civilians and using civilian vehicles, landmine use, forced recruitment and forced portering, and arrest and detention of civilians suspected of being associates or sympathisers of the Arakan Army,” Ms. Lee said. “It does not appear that the situation will improve in the immediate future.”

Given the gravity of the situation, she appealed for the UN Security Council to take the international lead on the matter.

“I still firmly believe that the situation in Myanmar must be referred to the ICC by the Security Council…Victims must not be forced to wait in the purgatory of international inaction,” she said.

Exploitation of gems, timber, high on list of alleged rights violations

Allegations of misuse of Myanmar’s natural riches constituted one of the biggest areas of the Special Rapporteur’s investigations, particularly in the gemstones and timber sectors.

“Revenues from natural resource extraction needed for vital services and development being diverted to the military and its allies undermines the civilian Government, democratic reforms, the peace process, sustainable development and the realisation of rights,” the Special Rapporteur explained.

Rohingya refugees give Council testimony for first time

For the first time, the Council heard testimonies from two Rohingya refugees, Hamida Khatun from Shanti Mohila and Muhub Ullah from the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights.

“In August 2017, I fled Burma to Bangladesh when my village was attacked,” Mrs Khatun said. “My Rohingya brothers and sisters were killed, my husband and mother were killed. I’m the only Rohingya woman who could leave Bangladesh to tell you what happened to hundreds of thousands of us.”

In her comments, delivered by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Mrs Khatun added that she had “three requests for the international community: first, justice including compensation; second, to return home in safety and security including citizenship; and third, access to education.”

Rakhine problem vast and complex, says Myanmar

Myanmar told the Council that the Government had sought sustainable peace and national reconciliation, while the issue in Rakhine state was vast and complex.

“We share the concern over the plight of all affected communities due to the violence triggered by provocative, coordinated attacks of ARSA terrorists against multiple security outposts in October 2016 and August 2017,” said Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun.

“I would like to reiterate Myanmar’s readiness to receive the verified returnees in a voluntary safe and dignified manner in accordance with the bilateral agreements with Bangladesh.”

In response to Ms. Lee’s appeal for an international tribunal to investigate alleged abuses, Mr. Kyaw insisted that his country “will not accept any call for referring the situation in Myanmar to the ICC. The Government of Myanmar established an Independent Commission of Enquiry in July last year. The Commission will investigate…as part of Myanmar’s effort to the address the issue of accountability,” he said adding that the Government “is willing and able to address the accountability issue.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

In 1975 NASA envisioned future life in space would look like this

Artificial Intelligence: a danger to mankind, or the key to a better world?

UN boosts humanitarian appeal to help tackle Zimbabwe’s ‘worst-ever’ hunger crisis

5 ways to net a sustainable future for aquaculture

Mental and comportamental health in the pandemic context

Three scenarios for the future of geopolitics

Colombia: ‘Significant strides’ towards integrated peace, UN envoy tells Security Council

The first new university in the UK for 40 years is taking a very different approach to education

As coronavirus spreads to poorer countries, here’s how the world can help

Governments and non-state actors need to take urgent action to meet Paris Agreement goals

ECB to people: Not responsible if you lose money on Bitcoin, your governments are

How robotics can help humanitarians bridge the digital divide

EU Budget 2020 deal: Investing more in climate action, youth and research

Privatization as a symptom of health inequity

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK government White paper

Christmas spending: Who can afford not to cut?

Turkey: Extension of EU humanitarian programmes supporting 1.7 million refugees receives green light

Statement by Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič on the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon

This Chinese tech giant’s latest gadget is… a bus

FROM THE FIELD: What do you want to be when you grow up? One day I will…

North-east Nigeria displacement crisis continues amid ‘increased sophistication’ of attackers, warns UN

Parliament to vote on new European Commission on 27 November

UNICEF must triple budget to combat Ebola outbreak in DR Congo; complex crisis impacting unprecedented number of children

We underestimate the power of data at our peril. This is why

‘Multiplicity’ of rights violations in Ukraine as fifth winter of conflict bites

How companies can build resilience against pandemics

This is how people in Europe are helping lead the energy charge

Could Europe become the first climate-neutral continent?

UN updates guidelines to ensure successful return to civilian life for former combatants

UN chief calls for ‘green and clean’ development in message for Africa Industrialization Day

World Youth Skills Day: What you need to know for 2020

In rural Bangladesh, solar power is changing lives

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Launch of CREWS, climate risk & early warning systems

From philanthropy to profit: how clean energy is kickstarting sustainable development in East Africa

Do not confuse food charity with ‘right to food’, UN expert tells Italians, labelling food system exploitative

‘Global trust’ declining, ‘our world needs stepped-up global leadership’

We need to rethink the way we heat ourselves. Here’s why

World Editors Forum President: Credible media vital in the fight against COVID-19 and fake news epidemic

Commuters in these cities spend more than 8 days a year stuck in traffic

Parliament commemorates the victims of the Holocaust

Why is the World Health Organisation so much needed?

3 ways blockchain can revolutionize global supply chains

Mediterranean and Black Seas: Commission proposes fishing opportunities for 2020

Poorer countries set to be ‘increasingly dependent’ on food imports, says UN food agency report

Iran-US attack in Iraq: Guterres pledges ‘active engagement’ in further de-escalation efforts

Wars have rules: 5 things the UN humanitarian chief wants countries to tackle so human suffering in conflict can be minimized

Achieving targets on energy helps meet other Global Goals, UN forum told

These floating homes could protect people from flooding as sea levels rise

Banking on sunshine: world added far more solar than fossil fuel power generating capacity in 2017

The European Union continues to lead the global fight against climate change

Burnout is a pandemic. Why don’t we talk more about it?

EU job-search aid worth €9.9 million for 1,858 former Air France workers

8 top stories from the week in Davos 2020

Million across Yemen ‘just a step away from famine’, with food available but inaccessible

Professional practices of primary health care for Brazilian health and gender inequality

UN’s Bachelet addresses progress and setbacks in human rights worldwide

What UK and EU risk if Brexit “wins” these elections

US Middle East peace plan ‘lopsided’, says independent UN rights expert

Europe’s forests are booming. Here’s why.

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s