[Geneva, 12 March 2018] We, Rohingya and Burmese civil society organizations, strongly support High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein’s recommendation that the Human Rights Council ask the General Assembly to establish a new independent and impartial mechanism to prepare criminal proceedings against those responsible for the atrocities in Rakhine State.
In the face of genocide, the UN’s foremost human rights body must shoulder its responsibilities and pursue justice for the Rohingya. Survivors have told harrowing accounts of killing, rape, abduction, torture, and arson. We urge the Human Rights Council to heed High Commissioner Zeid’s recommendation. The Council should call on the General Assembly to launch the mechanism in its next resolution on Myanmar.
The UN must act urgently. The government of Myanmar demonstrates time and time again that it is unwilling to pursue justice. Instead, it repeatedly obstructs efforts to investigate the horrific crimes. The authorities refuse access to Rakhine State for UN human rights mechanisms. However, satellite images from Human Rights Watch show that the government has bulldozed depopulated Rohingya villages. Reports from the Associated Press indicate that soldiers poured acid into mass graves to prevent identification of bodies. Most recently, on 7 March, the Tatmadaw issued a news release again denying all responsibility for the crimes in Rakhine State.
Member States must signal to the government of Myanmar that they will not stand by as genocide and other grave human rights abuses occur. The remaining Rohingya in Rakhine State face a campaign of forced starvation, while Rohingya stranded on the border are terrified by the military’s build-up of soldiers near the zero line. Elsewhere, in Kachin and Shan states, the security forces have intensified violence against minorities there.
International leadership for the investigatory mechanism will demonstrate to the many victims of Myanmar’s violence that the world stands with them and will send a clear message to the perpetrators that the world will not ignore their crimes.
View this original press release HERE.