Sunday, 10 December, 2017

United Nations seeks access for probe in Myanmar, talks of 'possible genocide'

Supreme Court to Resume Hearing on Deportation of Rohingyas Today SC to hear Rohingya petitions on January 31
Melissa Porter | 06 December, 2017, 01:42

Diplomats and human rights groups said the council's special session, convened with unusually wide backing from council members and cross-regional support, underscored Myanmar's worldwide isolation on the issue and the pressure on its rulers to alleviate the crisis.

"Given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?"

The U.N. Human Rights Chief condemned attacks against the Rohingya in Myanmar on Tuesday and called for a criminal investigation into those involved in the violence.

With his government in the spotlight, the ambassador said the priority should be on returning displaced people to Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The government of the Buddhist-majority country should not only carry out its plan to repatriate the Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh, but it should also grant citizenship to the largely stateless and marginalized group.

Instead, it issued a presidential statement calling on the Myanmar government to end the use of excessive military force and intercommunal violence that has devastated Rohingya communities during the military crackdowns.

The country's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Htin Lynn, did not address those accusations, but insisted to the council that the humanitarian situation at its border with Bangladesh was of "paramount concern", and that Yangon was "making every effort to resolve the issue".

Zeid also urged the Human Rights Council to consider asking the UN General Assembly to authorize another UN investigation into abuses and violence against the Rohingya.

The resolution during the session, requested by Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, received 33 votes in favor, nine abstentions, two absences, and three opposed, including China.

The UN rights chief called upon the special session "to take the appropriate action to stop this madness now" and asked: "How much do people have to endure before their suffering is acknowledged and their identity and rights are recognised, by their government and by the world?"

After months of hard negotiations, Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a deal in late-November to begin repatriating refugees within two months.

"This is crucial to lay the groundwork for accountability for atrocities against Rohingya women, men and children, as well as to ensure the voluntary, safe and dignified return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees".

"The adoption of today's resolution demonstrates the broad global concern about the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people so brutally impacted by the ongoing crimes against humanity in Myanmar's Rakhine State".

The Supreme Court on Tuesday posted all petitions relating to deportation of Muslim Rohingya refugees for detailed hearing on January 31.

He was speaking at a special council session Tuesday on the Rohingya's plight.

Thirty-three of the council's 47 members backed the text listing a long line of horrific abuses, including summary killings of children, rape, torture and large-scale forced displacement, which it said indicated "the very likely commission of crimes against humanity".

In March, the rights council approved the fact-finding mission to investigate alleged crimes by security forces, particularly in Rakhine.

Marzuki Darusman, who heads the independent fact-finding mission, told the Human Rights Council by videoconference that his team has "not yet come to any conclusion on these issues".