International

UN team: Myanmar Army had ‘genocidal intent’

A Rohingya child stands on a bamboo fence overlooking an expanse of makeshift bamboo and tarp shelters at Kutupalong refugee camp, where they have been living amid uncertainty over their future after they fled Myanmar to escape violence a year ago, in Bangladesh, on Sunday.

A Rohingya child stands on a bamboo fence overlooking an expanse of makeshift bamboo and tarp shelters at Kutupalong refugee camp, where they have been living amid uncertainty over their future after they fled Myanmar to escape violence a year ago, in Bangladesh, on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: AP

UN report says persecution of Rohingya Muslims amounted to ‘crimes against humanity’

Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent” and the Commander-in-Chief and five generals should be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under international law, UN investigators said.

In a report, they called for the UN Security Council to set up an ad hoc tribunal to try suspects or refer them to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The Security Council should also impose an arms embargo on Myanmar and targeted sanctions against individuals most responsible for crimes.

They blamed the country’s de facto civilian leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, for failing to use her ”moral authority” to protect civilians.

Human rights abuses

The report also criticised Facebook for allowing the world’s biggest social media network to be used to incite violence and hatred. Facebook responded on Monday by announcing that it was blocking 20 Myanmar officials and organisations found by the UN panel to have “committed or enabled serious human rights abuses”.

A year ago, government troops led a brutal crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on 30 Myanmar police posts and a military base. Some 7,00,000 Rohingya fled the crackdown and most are now living in refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh. The UN report said the military action, which included the torching of villages, was “grossly disproportionate to actual security threats”.

 

Ms. Suu Kyi’s government has rejected most allegations of atrocities made against the security forces by refugees. It has built transit centres for refugees to return, but UN aid agencies say it is not yet safe for them to do so.

In the final 20-page report, the panel said: “There is sufficient information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior officials in the Tatmadaw (army) chain of command, so that a competent court can determine their liability for genocide in relation to the situation in Rakhine state.”

Marzuki Darusman, chair of the panel, said commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing should step down pending investigation.

The UN panel, set up last year, interviewed 875 victims and witnesses in Bangladesh and other countries, and analysed documents, videos, photographs and satellite images. Decades of state-sponsored stigmatisation against Rohingya had resulted in “institutionalised oppression from birth to death”, the report said.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 12:31:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/un-team-myanmar-military-chiefs-should-face-genocide-case/article24790669.ece

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