By Busra Selvi Ogutcan
ANKARA, Turkey (AA): A group representing Rohingya in Europe has called on the European Union to support a UN investigation into “Myanmar’s Crimes against Rohingya.”
The European Rohingya Council, or ERC, said in a statement it was “deeply shocked and extremely concerned” about the EU’s decision not to support the UN investigation.
It was reported earlier last month that the EU decided not to back up the international investigation sought by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.
According to the statement, Ra’ad al-Hussein said March 8 “the severity of the reported human rights violations against the Rohingya in Myanmar amount to ‘Crimes against Humanity’ and warrants the attention of the International Criminal Court”.
Nine police officers were killed Oct. 9 in attacks on posts in Maungdaw, a district in northern Rakhine near the Bangladesh border. The killings sparked a violent wave of reprisals against the civilian population.
During operations, the UN and rights groups produced evidence of widespread abuses by security forces such as killings — including children and babies — gang rape, brutal beatings, the burning of villages and disappearances.
“The EU’s backing up of the military formed Commission of Inquiry to investigate the very crimes the military has been committing is completely shocking,” the statement said. “This irresponsible stand of EU will be a green light for Myanmar armed forces to further commit atrocities against Rohingya.
“We strongly urge the EU to reverse its decision, and to support the U.N. led the international investigation of the crimes against Rohingya perpetrated by Myanmar armed forces in Northern Arakan,” the statement added.
That Myanmar does not allow international media into the affected area in Rakhine State and will not cooperate with a UN probe into the killings, rape and mass arrests of Rohingya is proof of the government’s humanitarian crimes, according to the statement.
In excess of 72,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since the attacks in Maungdaw — a development that should alarm the EU to the “ongoing humanitarian disaster”, the statement added, and suggested that “only an independent UN-led international investigation of Myanmar’s abuse against Rohingya can reveal the crimes against Rohingya,” that could help end “Myanmar’s state-sponsored institutionalized persecution of Rohingya community.”
The Rohingya are not recognized by as one of Myanmar’s 135 ethnic groups. The government instead claims Rohingya are Bengalis, originally from Bangladesh.
According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, at least 32,000 registered and up to 500,000 unregistered Rohingya were living in Bangladesh in 2015, mostly in Cox’s Bazar.
[Archive photo: Rohingya Musilms pump water at a well in Thet Key Pyin camp near Sittwe, capital of Rakhine state on 2 May, 2016. Photographer:: Sitt Thway Naing/AA]