Sunday, March 26, 2017

Myanmar rejects UN probe of alleged abuses of Rohingya


The government of Myanmar has rebuffed the United Nations decision to probe into alleged human rights violations in the country’s western Rakhine State, according to official media reports on Saturday.
The UN Human Rights Council on Friday decided to send an international fact-finding mission to the southeast Asian country to establish "the facts and circumstances" of the alleged "violations by military and security forces, and abuses" against Rohingya Muslims in particular. 
The state-run newspapers on Saturday published a statement of the Foreign Ministry saying the establishment of the mission would do more to inflame, rather than resolve the issues at this time.
"Myanmar has dissociated itself from the resolution as a whole," the statement said, adding the decision was not in accord with the "complex and challenging" situation on the ground and the national circumstances.
The government also said it would set out a clear action plan for the prompt implementation of the interim recommendations made by the former UN chief Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State last week.
The UN and international rights groups have been calling on the Myanmar government for a credible international investigation, saying rights violations against the Rohingya Muslims in northern part of Rakhine may amount to crimes against humanity. 
Human Rights Watch deputy Asian director, Phil Robertson, said it was broadly understood that the grave rights violations in Rakhine State were primarily about the conduct of the military, and not the civilian government led by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, as the international community and the UN recognized that the current constitution placed control of security situations solely in the hands of the military.
"For this reason, the civilian government should stand aside and let the international investigators do their work to reveal what Myanmar’s security forces have been doing," he told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
"However, if Aung San Suu Kyi and her government seek to block the investigation, then they should recognize that in the eyes of the international community, they will become part of the proble," he added.
A number of attacks on police stations rocked the Rakhine State on Oct. 9, 2016, triggering a draconian law enforcement response that caused the deaths of dozens and led to tens of thousands of people fleeing the country in fear.

Rohingya advocacy groups claim that not dozens but hundreds of Rohingya -- described by the UN as among the most persecuted groups worldwide -- were killed in the military operations in an area which has been closed to aid agencies and independent journalists.
Following the growing international pressure, Myanmar established an investigation commission led by Vice President Myint Swe, a former army general, in early December. 
Phil Robertson said the commission lacked credibility as its methodology failed to protect the witnesses or victims, and its members were stacked with current or former government officials who were there to "cover up" what happened, not expose it. 
"No one believes the Myanmar government when they say that their
national investigation commissions are independent," he said.

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