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UN: Rohingya abuses in Myanmar may be crimes against humanity

5th Oct 2017
UN: Rohingya abuses in Myanmar may be crimes against humanity

By Fatih Erel

 

GENEVA (AA): The UN human rights experts on Wednesday called on Myanmar authorities to stop violence against Rohingya Muslims which, they said, may constitute “crimes against humanity”.

“We are particularly worried about the fate of Rohingya women and children subject to serious violations of their human rights, including killings, rape and forced displacement,” the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said in a joint statement.

“Such violations may amount to crimes against humanity and we are deeply concerned at the State’s failure to put an end to these shocking human rights violations being committed at the behest of the military and other security forces, and of which women and children continue to bear the brunt,” the statement added.

Also on Wednesday, the UN urgently requested $434 million from donor countries to assist Rohingya refugees in southern Bangladesh.

“Today an update to the UN response plan was released, seeking $434 million which is urgently needed to scale up the relief operation in support of the refugees and the host communities where they are seeking refuge,” the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock and UN children’s fund, UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, this appalling situation is not over. People are still crossing from Myanmar into Bangladesh, fleeing for their lives and requiring immediate support. We call again on the Myanmar authorities to allow the full resumption of humanitarian action across all of Rakhine state,” they added.

The committees called on the Myanmar authorities to immediately stop violence against Rohingya Muslims and investigate the crimes “promptly and effectively”.

They also urged Myanmar authorities to ensure “prompt and durable” return of displaced Rohingya who wish to live in Myanmar, and grant access to humanitarian aid agencies.

Since Aug. 25 when the military launched a crackdown against Rohingya militants, 507,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the issue at the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Maungdaw district, security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

[Photo:  Rohingya Muslim refugee child with baby is seen at a makeshift refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on September 23, 2017. Photographer: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/AA]

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