UN expert says Myanmar trying to "expel" Rohingya

UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said a full purge could be the ultimate goal of the institutional persecution of Rohingya Muslims.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Children recycle goods from the ruins of a market which was set on fire at a Rohingya village outside Maugndaw in Rakhine state, Myanmar, October 27, 2016.

Updated Mar 14, 2017

Myanmar may be trying to “expel” all ethnic Rohingya Muslims from its territory, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday. Lee also called for an independent inquiry into the situation.

A full purge could be the ultimate goal of the institutional persecution and “horrific” violence being perpetrated against the Rohingya, Lee said.

Lee asked the rights council to establish the UN's highest-level probe, a Commission of Inquiry, to investigate the crackdown as well as violent episodes in 2012 and 2014.

She said Myanmar was still making Rohingyas' lives difficult by dismantling homes and conducting a household survey.


Yanghee Lee visited Myanmar twice in the past year, including Rakhine state. But she was blocked at the last minute from Kachin state, another area of ethnic violence. (Reuters)

Myanmar's military launched a crackdown in the north of Rakhine state after nine policemen were killed on October 9.

UN investigators have accused the military of raping Rohingya women and slaughtering babies.

The soldiers are also accused of burning down over a thousand houses belonging to Rohingya Muslims.

Some 75,000 Rohingya have since fled to Bangladesh, where Lee said she had heard "harrowing account after harrowing account."

"I heard allegation after allegation of horrific events like these – slitting of throats, indiscriminate shootings, setting alight houses with people tied up inside and throwing very young children into the fire, as well as gang rapes and other sexual violence," she told the Council.

Lee visited Myanmar twice in the past year, including Rakhine state. But she was blocked at the last minute from Kachin state, another area of ethnic violence.

"I must confess that there were times that I had seriously questioned the nature of the cooperation," she said.

Myanmar has pushed back against Lee's call for a Commission of Inquiry, insisting that its own investigation into the Rakhine crisis would uncover the facts.

But Lee told the council that the government's probe had already been proved inadequate.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein has said treatment of the Rohingya merits a UN commission of inquiry and review by the International Criminal Court.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies