Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Tech | By Tabitha Holland

United Nations official convinced of Myanmar Rohingya 'genocide'

United Nations official convinced of Myanmar Rohingya 'genocide'

More than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state into Bangladesh since insurgent attacks sparked a security crackdown last August.

Delivering her report to the Council in Geneva, Lee said that to date accountability for the crimes committed in Rakhine State following 25 August 2017, and 9 October 2016, was elusive, adding that this must now be the focus of the global community's efforts to bring long-lasting peace, stability and democratization to Myanmar.

Tirana Hassan, Amnesty's crisis response director, said: "The remaking of Rakhine State is taking place in a shroud of secrecy".

Satellite imagery reveals how, in just a few months, new bases have been erected over torched Rohingya land, with whole villages and even nearby forests cleared to make room, it said.

Wells said the new development makes it impossible for the Myanmar government to fulfill its pledge to allow Rohingya refugees to return to their homes.

Burma is building military bases, including helipads, on the bulldozed ruins of Rohingya villages, obliterating evidence of what the United Nations has called a programme of ethnic cleansing.

"Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar", Hassan added.

Myanmar's military had also advanced into Mutraw District in Kayin State, an area controlled by the Karen National Union, despite a ceasefire agreement, she said.

Lee told the U.N. Human Rights Council that it will be impossible for the Rohingya to claim where they are from or where they previously had lived in Rakhine if the region's landscape is significantly altered. "The Government leadership who did nothing to intervene, stop, or condemn these acts must also be held accountable".

While Myanmar's government hasn't officially commented on the latest report, Amnesty cited a statement from officials, according to which the villages are being bulldozed to accommodate returning refugees.

Myanmar's envoy Htin Lynn rejected Lee's remarks and called for the council to fire her.

Rohingyas are a Muslim minority ethnic group in Myanmar.

Amnesty used satellite imagery and interviews to document the destruction of villages in Rakhine state.

Lee, who was speaking to the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, also called for a body to be set up at Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, where most Rohingya have sought refuge, to compile evidence of human rights abuses in Myanmar.

In December a year ago Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, also suggested that genocide may have been committed against the Rohingya.

She said against this background, the peace process appeared to be losing its momentum.

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