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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

600,000 Rohingya still in Myanmar at 'serious risk of genocide': UN

Source FrontierMyanmar, 16 Sept

A Myanmar border guard policeman stands near a Rohingya Muslim family in front of their home in Buthidaung Township, northern Rakhine State in January. (AFP)

By AFP

YANGON — Rohingya Muslims remaining in Myanmar still face a "serious risk of genocide", UN investigators said Monday, warning the repatriation of a million already driven from the country by the army remains "impossible".

The fact-finding mission to Myanmar, set up by the Human Rights Council, last year branded the army operations in 2017 as "genocide" and called for the prosecution of top generals, including army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Some 740,000 Rohingya fled burning villages, bringing accounts of murder, rape and torture over the border to sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh, where survivors of previous waves of persecution already languish.

But in a damning report, the United Nations team said the 600,000 Rohingya still inside Myanmar's Rakhine state remain in deteriorating and "deplorable" conditions.

"Myanmar continues to harbour genocidal intent and the Rohingya remain under serious risk of genocide," the investigators said in their final report on Myanmar, due to be presented Tuesday in Geneva.

The country is "denying wrongdoing, destroying evidence, refusing to conduct effective investigations and clearing, razing, confiscating and building on land from which it displaced Rohingya", it said.

Rohingya were living in "inhumane" conditions, the report continued, adding over 40,000 structures had been destroyed in the crackdown.

'War crimes'

The mission reiterated calls for the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or to set up a tribunal, like for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

It said it had a confidential list of over 100 names, including officials, suspected of being involved in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, in addition to the six generals named publicly last year.

The report also repeated calls for foreign governments and companies to sever all business ties with the military, calling for a "moratorium" on investment and development assistance in Rakhine state.

The maligned Muslim community has long been subjected to tight movement restrictions, making it difficult or impossible for many to access healthcare, work and education.

The Rohingya are denied citizenship in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and are accused of being illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

The army justified the crackdown as a means of rooting out Rohingya insurgents.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation deal two years ago, but virtually no refugees have returned to date.

The investigators described conditions in Myanmar as "unsafe, unsustainable and impossible" for returns to take place.

They also accused the army of fresh abuses against civilians in the north of Rakhine state.

The area has once again become embroiled in conflict as the military wages war on the Arakan Army (AA), rebels fighting for the rights of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.

The UN probe accused the military of "war crimes", including forced labour and torture and said the AA was also guilty of abuses on a smaller scale.

Myanmar military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun rejected the team's findings, calling them "one-sided".

"Instead of making biased accusations, they should go onto the ground to see the reality," Zaw Min Tun told AFP.

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Nicholas Koumjian (IIMM) - 1st Meeting, 42nd Regular Session Human Rights Council

Source UNweb, 9 Sept

Nicholas Koumjian (IIMM) - 1st Meeting, 42nd Regular Session Human Rights Council

9 Sep 2019 - Presentation of report by Nicholas Koumjian, Head of International Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar

 


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Nicholas Koumjian (IIMM) - 1st Meeting, 42nd Regular Session Human Rights Council 

Friday, 6 September 2019

Myanmar forcing Rohingya to accept ‘foreigner’ label

Source Presstv, 3 Sept

In this file photo, taken on September 17, 2017, Rohingya refugees are seen protecting themselves from the rain in Bangladesh. (By AFP)In this file photo, taken on September 17, 2017, Rohingya refugees are seen protecting themselves from the rain in Bangladesh. (By AFP)

A human rights organization says Myanmarese authorities are forcing members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority to accept identity cards that strip them of the chance to become citizens.

In a report published on Tuesday, Fortify Rights said that the National Verification Card (NVC) scheme targeting Rohingya Muslims was part of a systematic campaign by Myanmarese authorities to erase their identity.

The government has coerced Rohingya to accept the NVCs, "which effectively identify Rohingya as 'foreigners,'" the group said.

The report, titled "Tools of Genocide," also said Myanmarese authorities used torture and abuse to force Rohingya into accepting the verification cards.

"These findings demonstrate that the NVC process has not been a response to the crisis in Rakhine State, as the government suggests, but rather a fundamental part of the crisis," it added, referring to the state where the Rohingya had been concentrated before hundreds of thousands of them fled state-sponsored violence to neighboring Bangladesh.

The group also says "citizenship scrutiny" processes have progressively limited their rights, including freedom of movement, access to education, and freedom of expression.

Matthew Smith, the group's chief executive officer, also said, "The Myanmar government is trying to destroy the Rohingya people through an administrative process that effectively strips them of basic rights."

The United Nations Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar also found an increase in pressure on the Rohingya to accept the NVC in the months leading up to August 2017.

More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine to neighboring Bangladesh following a military-led crackdown in 2016 that the UN has said was perpetrated with "genocidal intent."

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed, injured, arbitrarily arrested, or raped by Myanmarese soldiers and Buddhist mobs mainly between November 2016 and August 2017.

The latest development comes days after a second failed attempt to repatriate the refugees from Bangladesh.

Citizenship is at the heart of Rohingya demands for a return to Myanmar.

The Rohingya have inhabited Rakhine for centuries, but the state denies them citizenship. Bangladesh refuses to grant them citizenship, too.