Crimes Against Rohingyas: US urges Myanmar to allow UN probe
The United States has called on Myanmar to allow a United Nations fact-finding mission to investigate widespread allegations of killings, rape and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council established the inquiry in March, but Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar's civilian government and also its foreign minister, has rejected the allegations and opposes the mission.
A Myanmar official said on June 30 that the country would refuse entry to the UN investigators.
The US ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Nikki Haley, on Monday said, "It is important that the Burmese government allow this fact-finding mission to do its job."
"The international community cannot overlook what is happening in Burma – we must stand together and call on the government to fully cooperate with this fact-finding mission," she said in a statement. Myanmar was formerly known as Burma.
Some 75,000 Rohingya fled northwestern Rakhine state to Bangladesh after Myanmar's army carried out a security operation last October in response to deadly attacks by Rohingya insurgents on border posts.
A UN report from February, based on interviews with some of the Rohingya refugees, said Myanmar's security forces have committed mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya in a campaign that "very likely" amounts to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing.
"No one should face discrimination or violence because of their ethnic background or religious beliefs," Haley said.
Meanwhile, the UN high commissioner for refugees said Nearly half a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar living in squalid Bangladeshi camps face staying "for some more time".
Filippo Grandi, the chief of UNHCR, on Monday visited two refugee camps in Cox's Bazar on the southeast coast where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled violence in neighbouring Myanmar.
Grandi warned the minority group faced a "very dire state in northern Rakhine" bordering Cox's Bazar, adding Myanmar officials had said the verification procedure for refugees before any repatriation would be lengthy.
"We offered our technical expertise (to Myanmar). I think it's possible that refugees will stay here in Bangladesh for some more time," he said in Dhaka.
The refugee chief also tweeted Monday: "Struck by sense of despair of refugees in Cox's Bazaar: tangible progress in Myanmar & better opportunities can restore trust in the future."
Dhaka estimates 400,000 Rohingya refugees are living in Bangladesh, including nearly 75,000 who have arrived since October.
Many recalled horrific stories of villages being torched, relatives burned alive and the gang rape of women by security forces.
Myanmar's government regards the approximately 1 million Rohingya as illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh and denies them citizenship, even though Rohingya families have lived there for generations.